Colorado requires disclosure of fracking chemicals

By P. Solomon Banda

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Arkansas, Montana, Texas and Wyoming all require companies to disclose the chemicals in fracking fluid but not their concentrations, said Matt Watson, senior energy policy manager for the Environmental Defense Fund. Louisiana and New Mexico only require disclosure of some chemicals deemed workplace hazards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Other states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, have proposed similar regulations.

Both Colorado and Texas require companies to list fracking fluid chemicals on FracFocus.org, a national website created by two intergovernmental agencies. Companies in Texas must begin complying starting in February.

Gov. John Hickenlooper had called for Colorado to draft a disclosure rule.

"I think we've reached the fairest and most transparent rules on the transparency of frack fluids of any state in the country," the Democratic governor said. "I think this will likely become a national model that if other states they don't copy it, they will certainly use it as a touch point."

Commission staff said a survey of Colorado disclosures on FracFocus.org shows a small percentage claim trade secrets, though the website includes only voluntary disclosures. Companies on the website say their fracking fluid is mostly water mixed with sand and small percentages of petroleum chemicals and alcohols such as isopropanol, which is used in rubbing alcohol. Some fluids contain hydrochloric acid, which can cause irritation and burns.

Freeman said some fracking fluids also might contain diesel fuel, benzene and other chemicals commonly found in gasoline.

The database is searchable by company, well location and type of chemical used.

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