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Safety

State Laws Limited On Fracking Disclosure

by Glenn Hess
August 6, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 32

State laws that require oil and natural gas producers to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations fail to fully protect the environment and public health, says a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Of the 29 states where this drilling technique is deployed to recover natural gas from shale rock formations, the environmental group reports that 15 have no disclosure requirements at all and none require comprehensive disclosure. Trade secret exemptions in most states create loopholes, “allowing companies to deem information proprietary and prevent disclosure,” says the report, which was released late last month. The laws vary greatly in terms of how specific the chemical descriptions must be, when disclosure is required, and to whom companies must report. Enforcement was also found to be uneven. “States that have enacted disclosure rules have taken an important first step,” the report says. “But our analysis contradicts assertions that state disclosure rules are a success story which negate the need for federal disclosure rules.”

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