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State Groups Plan Chemical Registry

by Glenn Hess
October 25, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 43

Two state-based organizations plan to create a centralized system to obtain, store, and publish information about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling technique that critics claim is a threat to drinking water. The drilling process involves pumping large amounts of water mixed with sand and chemical additives deep underground at high pressure to break up shale rock formations and stimulate the flow of natural gas. The Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the Ground Water Protection Council say they will work with the Department of Energy to refine the voluntary chemical disclosure system. "Although hydraulic fracturing fluids are generally composed of water and sand with relatively small volumes of additives, disclosure of the chemicals used during the process will enhance public awareness and confidence," says Victor Carrillo, chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas and a member of the IOGCC steering committee. The purpose of the Web-based registry, which is expected to cost $3 million and take one year to complete, is to create and maintain a national chemical registry for hydraulic fracturing that is user-friendly and available to the public, first responders, and emergency personnel, the groups say.


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