Texas drilling regulator: Frac disclosure rules will be ready in 2012


A new law approved by Texas legislators gives regulators until July 2013 to require disclosure of most chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, but one official said he hopes to have it done a year earlier.

Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter said he would push the Railroad Commission – the state’s main drilling regulator – to complete the entire rulemaking process by July 1, 2012.

“In order for Texans to maintain confidence in the oil and gas industry, it is important for us to get this done as quickly as possible,” Porter said in a statement. “We need to assure the public that hydraulic fracturing is safe and responsible – and has been for the past sixty years – and we need to do it now.”

Under existing rules, companies must list just some of the chemicals used in fracturing on Material Safety Data Sheets, documents kept on worksites to help officials respond to emergencies such as spills or accidental exposures to hazardous chemicals. Some chemicals are exempt if the companies claim they are trade secrets, while others simply aren’t covered by the requirements.

In response to public concerns about hazardous chemicals, the industry voluntarily has been sharing fracturing fluid information from the data sheets for specific wells through a website, FracFocus.org.

The new Texas law makes that reporting mandatory for all wells drilled in Texas, and will require listing of chemicals not currently required on the data sheets. But the Railroad Commission had until July 2012 to write the rules for reporting the MSDS data and until July 2013 for the second set of information.

Porter’s pledge is to have all the data posted by July 2012.

The Railroad Commission will begin the rulemaking process at its next open conference this month and will hold open meetings throughout the state in coming months to gather public comment.

Last month Porter said he was working to form an Eagle Ford Shale Task Force to look at a range of issues such as water use.

Earlier this week Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones told a congressional committee that fears of hydraulic fracturing were largely unfounded. It’s more likely that well casing problems or poor cement jobs would to lead to water contamination issues, she said.

Tom Fowler

4 Responses

  1. YeahRight says:

    Here is a better idea. Why not require all levels of management, and their families, and the board of each company to mix fracking fluids into their water supply and consume them on a daily basis?

    We are constantly being told that the fluids are a safe and not an issue. Okay fine. Prove it and drink it on a daily basis.

    It’s amazing how much bullshit we are fed by these companies. Ever since the new regulations have been on the radar the number of chemicals being labeled “trade secrets” has gone up 572%. I wonder why that is?

    Gotta love exemptions. We have the best laws that money can buy.

  2. farmer448 says:

    Here is an idea. Why not put markers in the fluids like we do in high explosives so we know who manufactured the fluid before it went down the well bore.

    Poor casing jobs may be the cause of a lot of the problems but then it would be up the the fluid manufacturer to sue the drilling company who put the casing in. End the finder pointing when there is a problem with the well.

  3. Adler says:

    “In response to stupid sheeple panicking” There fixed it for you. Most of you liberal twits don’t seem to understand that botht he feds and states have rules regarding casing and cementing across freshwater zones to ensure they are isolated from the wellbore. Since fresh water acquifers occur in the shallower portions of the wells, they can have 2 or 3 strings of caing and possibly a tubing string isolating them from frac fluids.

    Most of the chemicals used in fraccing can be found in or around the averge home, especially the kitchen. They would be water, salt, gel (same as in Jello or mosst jams/jellies), alcohol, and surfactants (aka soap or detergent), and sand.

    But hey, just keep the sheeple stirred up, so the socialists can continue to run amok.

  4. Shaun says:

    Here is an article talking about the bill I mentioned the other day.