EPA Seeks Public Comment on Enhancing Transparency for Chemicals in Hydraulic Fracking Operations

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An aerial view of one fracking site in West Virgina

Glynn Wilson –

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now seeking public comment on what information could be reported and disclosed about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations.

As we reported in-depth two years ago, when the Alabama division of the U.S. Forest proposed opening up large tracts of the Talladega National Forest to natural gas drilling, fracking operations are exempt from reporting what chemicals they use, keeping them a trade secret, and are not responsible for any environmental damage they may cause under the Clean Water Act because of the so-called Halliburton Loophole.

Now the EPA is also soliciting input on incentives and recognition programs that could support the development and use of safer chemicals in hydraulic fracking for natural gas, according to a press release just out from the EPA on Friday.

“A public process through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will help inform EPA’s efforts to promote the transparency and safety of unconventional oil and gas activities while strengthening protection of our air, water, land and communities,” the agency says.

“Today’s announcement represents an important step in increasing the public’s access to information on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing activities,” said James Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “EPA looks forward to hearing from the public and stakeholders about public disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, and we will continue working with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to ensure that we complement but not duplicate existing reporting requirements.”

EPA’s rulemaking includes a list of questions for stakeholders and the public to consider as they develop their comments. Following the 90-day comment period, the agency will evaluate the submitted comments as it considers appropriate next steps.

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemakings are intended to engage the public and solicit comments and/or information from the public for EPA’s consideration in addressing a particular issue, including information that EPA could consider in developing non-regulatory approaches or a proposed rule.

So if you are with a non-profit environmental group working on the fracking issue or just a concerned citizen worried about pollution from drilling for natural gas in this way, check out the information on EPA’s Website and get involved to make a difference. Here is your chance.

© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.