New Texas Fracking Disclosure Law Now In EffectFebruary 3, 2012
As of February 1, 2012, a new Texas law is in effect which requires oil and natural gas operators to publically disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells. Legal authorities in Texas say the rule also requires operators to disclose how much water is used in the fracking process. Hydraulic fracturing has come under harsh criticism for excessive use of water in the drought stricken state. Environmental groups have estimated that hydraulic fracking outfits in the Barnett Shale of North Texas may require the use of 1 to 5 million gallons of water. This information can now be found at the website: www.fracfocus.org.
Those involved in the oil and gas industry realize that the information is primarily going to be sought by those who seek to address environmental question raised by hydraulic fracking. Critics of hydraulic fracking have voiced concerns of water usage as well as water contamination. However, industry representatives have continued to maintain that fracking is a safe process that poses minimal environmental threat and has been used successfully for decades to enable greater recovery of natural gas and oil.
Texas legal authorities say that while the individual chemicals must be disclosed, a "supplier, service company or operator" is not required to disclose trade secrets about its specific fracking-fluid formula unless the state attorney general or a court "determines the information is not entitled to trade-secret protection."
According to reports, Fracfocus.org was launched in April by the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, national organizations associated with state agencies such as the Railroad Commission, the chief regulator of Texas' oil and gas industry, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The website offers many features which seek to educate and shed light and educate Texas residents on the hydraulic fracturing process. Further, at the following portion of the site: https://www.hydraulicfracturingdisclosure.org/fracfocusfind/, residents are allowed to look up information reported about specific wells in their area. The site also gives a detailed explanation of how the hydraulic fracking process works, ground water protection issues, chemical use in hydraulic fracking, and how fracking regulations vary from state to state.