Improvements planned for fracking chemical disclosure website

  • Marie Cusick

The groups managing the national fracking chemical disclosure website, FracFocus, say they are planning improvements to make information more transparent.

EnergyWire reports the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission are responding to criticism from environmental groups and open government groups. Pennsylvania is one of 14 states that requires gas drillers to use the website as part of its chemical disclosure laws.

As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported, the way the data is reported makes it difficult for researchers to analyze.

More from EnergyWire:

The organizations said they will put an “emphasis” on a reporting format called the “systems approach” that they hope will reduce the number of chemical names withheld as trade secrets. Under a systems approach, chemical names are reported separately from the additive products they go into, protecting the companies’ proprietary recipes.

When Baker Hughes Inc. announced that it would no longer withhold chemical names as trade secrets, it said it would be using the systems approach.

A Department of Energy panel that reviewed FracFocus for the Obama administration reported last year that at least one chemical ingredient was omitted for 84 percent of the wells listed on the site.

The groups also promised to make the chemical data available in a “machine readable” format. FracFocus records are currently available only in PDF format.

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