Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Chemical Additives: Analysis of Regulations

  • Maule A
  • Makey C
  • Benson E
 et al. 
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Abstract

Hydraulic fracturing is used to extract natural gas from shale formations. The process involves injecting into the ground fracturing fluids that contain thousands of gallons of chemical additives. Companies are not mandated by federal regulations to disclose the identities or quantities of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing operations on private or public lands. States have begun to regulate hydraulic fracturing fluids by mandating chemical disclosure. These laws have shortcomings including nondisclosure of proprietary or "trade secret" mixtures, insufficient penalties for reporting inaccurate or incomplete information, and timelines that allow for after-the-fact reporting. These limitations leave lawmakers, regulators, public safety officers, and the public uninformed and ill-prepared to anticipate and respond to possible environmental and human health hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids. We explore hydraulic fracturing exemptions from federal regulations, as well as current and future efforts to mandate chemical disclosure at the federal and state level.

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Authors

  • Alexis L. Maule

  • Colleen M. Makey

  • Eugene B. Benson

  • Isaac J. Burrows

  • Madeleine K. Scammell

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