Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Texas Railroad Commission Punts on Fracking Disclosure Rules

Photo courtesy of the RRC

Elizabeth Ames Jones, Chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas

New rules with a big impact for many Texans came up at a meeting of the Railroad Commission of Texas today. They would require oil and gas companies to disclose what chemicals they use when “fracking.”

Residents near some drilling sites in Fort Worth are concerned about the fracking fluids possibly contaminating their water supply. A recent study by the University of Texas found no direct link between the practice and contaminated water underground.

But the study did find that surface spills related to drilling and fracking had an effect: “many allegations of groundwater contamination appear to be related to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than from hydraulic fracturing itself,” the study’s preliminary findings say.

The commission put off making a decision about the new disclosure rules today. A spokesperson said that the staff found an error in the rules they were going to give the commissioners, and didn’t have time to get a correct version ready. The rules were proposed by the state legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry this summer.

Our sister site, StateImpact Pennsylvania, has this handy guide to how the fracking chemical disclosure rules vary state-to-state.


  • The EPA has confirmed fracking chemicals are in the aquifer in Pavilion, Wyoming http://www.texassharon.com/2011/11/10/officially-confirmed-fracking-chemical-in-aquifer/

    The Ruggieros in Wise County have a baseline test that shows their water was clean and safe before fracking. After fracking it had high levels of MBTE an additive that is used in diesel fuel.

    The fracking story is far from over.

    But, please be accurate about the Texas disclosure bill. It has 3 very large loopholes so drillers will not be required to do full disclosure. It’s so important that Texans understand that this bill does not really afford them much protection at all.


  • TexasOnMyMind

    Wow.  Yet another example of NPR using a misleading headline to hype a non-story.  How sad you have to resort to such nonsense to attract readers.

    The truth is that the Railroad Commission is about to finalize the most transparent, most expansive disclosure rule in the nation.  Professional hacks like TXsharon will never be satisfied regardless of what rules are passed, because their ability to continue to extract money from the hapless and ignorant among the general public depends on maintaining a perpetual crisis around hydraulic fracturing.

    Please try to do some factual reporting on this subject, and lay off the sensationalist, misleading headlines.  Thanks.

    • Timothy R. Ruggiero

      Don’t be so naive. To say the TRC is about to finalize their ‘most transparent, expansive disclosure rule’ suggests actually clarity. There’s quite a few *asterisks* in this bill. To make my point, even you know the Industry repeatedly touts that frack fluid is “99 pct water and only 1 to 2 pct chemicals. It’s “Mostly water and sand.” Well, if that’s truly the case, then why are the Industry attorneys fighting it so much? What’s to hide? That teeny tiny ONE Percent? And, what’s taking Industry Puppets like Ames Jones so damn long on the ‘final’ report? 

       Aside from the fact that the billions of gallons of water that is used is forever contaminated and cannot be returned to the hydrological cycle (which is not to say that through illegal dumping it isn’t) the Industry hides behind the claim of these chemical formulas being ‘proprietary’. This is a convenient excuse and nothing more than a diversion from the truth. The real truth is, operators use what ever fracking company they can get in the area. So, if there really are so many different double secret frack formulas out there, then why do companies like CHK use so many different frack companies for the frack jobs? Obviously, CHK doesn’t care not show a preference for one company over another when it comes to to frack fluid. As a matter of fact, CHK is developing their very own frack fluid company to further reduce costs and expenses. So, unless Aubrey and some of his minions stole another company’s formula, then the real question about frack fluid has nothing to do with it being ‘proprietary’.

  • Dangermouse

    What PR firm are you with? How precisely is someone like Sharon who runs a blog and volunteers her time a “professional”? The fact is that the law does have loopholes and lack real teeth. To say it the most transparent is a total dodge. There is a complete and total lack of transparency right now, so of course anything is better than real transparency. If the industry had nothing to hide, why wouldn’t they have disclosed by now? Why does it take a law to try to make the industry act as the good corporate citizen it claims it is?

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