Austin, TX – Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones and her fellow commissioners adopted one of the nation’s most comprehensive chemical disclosure rules for hydraulic fracturing chemicals. The rule will require Texas oil and gas operators to disclose on a national public website all the ingredients and water volumes used to hydraulically fracture wells in Texas.
Jones stated, “With the passage of this mandatory Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Rule, Texans can be assured they will know more about what is going into the ground for fracturing than what goes into a can of soda.”
At the Commission’s public hearing on October 5, Dr. Andrew Barron, the Welch Chair of Chemistry at Rice University, testified that, “Such a rule [like the adopted frac fluid disclosure rule] is not required for our foods…it is my belief that the proposed rule offers significantly greater information and hence better protection to the public than the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] provides with the labeling of common food and drink.”
The Hydraulic Frac Fluid Disclosure Rule will be required for wells that the Railroad Commission has issued an initial drilling permit on or after February 1, 2012. Before the rule passed, Texas operators conducting hydraulic fracturing were voluntarily entering chemical data into the public website FracFocus (fracfocus.org) for about half of all wells in Texas undergoing hydraulic fracturing.
Jones stated, “With support from Governor Perry, House Energy Resources Chairman Jim Keffer, the industry and environmental groups like the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club, we have successfully fulfilled our commitment from earlier this year to ensure that Texans know every single ingredient used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The Railroad Commission continues to require best practices for responsible energy exploration and production while protecting the environment and the public’s health and safety.”
Chairman Jones made implementation of the rule a top priority after testifying to Congress and the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board last spring on the same issue. Hydraulic fracturing has been an environmentally safe process used for more than 60 years in Texas. The rule will enhance the transparency of hydraulic fracturing, a technique pioneered in Texas to increase shale gas and oil production, that has helped Texas remain the nation’s top energy producer.