Backlash as EPA considers fracking chemicals disclosure rules

© Shutterstock

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering introducing new regulations that would require companies to disclose the composition of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), but the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) is warning that such a rule could jeopardise the trade secrets of its members, which include small businesses that manufacture chemicals used in oil and gas exploration.

Back in May, EPA sought public comment on what information could be reported and disclosed for fracking chemicals, and said the mechanism for obtaining this information could be regulatory, voluntary, or a combination of both.

However, SOCMA is now arguing that this plan could lead to ‘mining from foreign competitors’ before chemicals enter commerce. The consequent offshoring could lead to lost jobs and product manufacture outside the reach of US law, the trade group suggests in comments submitted to EPA.

Instead, SOCMA urges EPA to avoid duplicative reporting requirements by maximising the voluntary initiatives already under way between manufacturers, in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies. As an example, SOCMA points to the FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry, a mechanism for posting drilling activities and keeping the public informed while protecting proprietary business information.

The group suggests that EPA could identify chemicals used at a particular well, or more broadly, by combining the FracFocus data with data from its own chemical data reporting rule, which requires manufacturers to report information on the chemical substances they produce domestically or import into the US.

Related Content

Audit of fracking fluids highlights data deficiencies

15 August 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Secrecy hampers efforts to understand potential risks of chemicals used in fracking

Paper device tracks fracking pollution

21 August 2015 Research

news image

Cheap and simple bromide sensor warns if water has been contaminated with fracking fluid

Most Commented

WHO clarifies glyphosate risks

23 May 2016 Business

news image

UN and WHO panel conclude the herbicide glyphosate is ‘unlikely’ to cause cancer at realistic exposure levels

Crawling chemical system acts as if it’s alive

24 May 2016 Research

news image

Intriguing globule that moves, eats and defecates