U.S. Government Proposes New Fracking Rules Requiring Chemical Disclosure

May 5th, 2012 BY VeganVerve | No Comments

Many experts believe that the process of hydraulic fracking will increase in use across the globe in the coming years. Fracking is done by injecting water, chemicals and sand into the ground with shale in order to obtain oil and natural gas. As the use of fracking has grown as has the concerns surrounding the process. There are concerns regarding contributions to global warming, groundwater contamination and earthquakes.

Obtaining natural gas through shale with the use of hydraulic fracking is growing within the U.S. as well, especially as the country tries to switch to national sources of energy. Natural gas obtained through shale gas currently amounts to approximately twenty-five percent of all natural gas in the U.S.. Experts believe this may jump to fifty percent by the year 2035. Therefore the growing concerns of hydraulic fracking are important to be explored and corrected if valid and able to be fixed.

One of the major concerns that many individuals and environmental groups have with the process is the potential contamination of drinking water. Some areas have claimed such contamination has already occurred during the past few years of the growing field. Fracking causing local earthquakes and contributing to global warming emissions are also top concerns.

Many chemicals are used in the process of fracking, well into the hundreds, and according to some government findings many are considered hazardous. Twenty-nine of the known chemicals are possible carcinogens, hazardous air pollutants or under regulation when entering the water supply by the U.S. government.

Which is why the U.S. government recently announced intentions to require companies to disclose the chemicals they use on federal lands. In addition, the proposal would like to see companies increasing practices to ensure well casings and preventing waste water leakage. Under the proposed regulations the companies would not have to disclose the chemicals used until they have already begun fracking in order to prevent drilling delays.

Of the wells on federal lands in the U.S., ninety percent currently employ fracking. However, fracking groups disagree with the proposal due to voluntary disclosures of chemicals already being used by many of the companies operating wells in the U.S.. However, environmental groups are cautiously optimistic about the new proposals.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, stated: “While it is deeply disappointing that fracking on sensitive public lands has been considered at all, we fully expect the administration to implement the toughest safeguards possible to rein in irresponsible practices and protect our public spaces.”

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stated: “As we continue to offer millions of acres of America’s public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place.”

The proposal will now be taking public comment. It is not known how likely the proposal is to succeed at this time.

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