This story was originally posted Dec. 7 here
By Kelly MacNeil
Arkansas just became one of the first states in the country to require drilling companies to disclose what chemicals they’re using to crack open shale rock to extract natural gas.
The state Oil and Gas Commission has decided to require companies drilling for natural gas in the Fayetteville Shale to tell the public what kinds of chemicals they’re using. Companies are typically protective of the recipes for their hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” fluids. But Oil and Gas director Larry Bengal says the agency will require companies to share the chemicals they plan to use, and then list the names of additives actually used on specific wells.
There’s been a public concern that the chemicals used by the industry – which have been used for a very long time – are endangering fresh waters,” Bengal said. “They want to ensure they know what those chemicals are, so if there is a potential contamination in that particular water well, they’d be able to know what the chemicals are and be able to test for that particular chemical.”
Andy Cheshir leads two Arkansas environmental groups focused on shale drilling. He wishes the commission had created an even stronger rule, that encompasses not just new wells, but those already drilled.
If the commission makes no other adjustments – which it reserved the right to do – the rule will be final on January 15th. The additives will be posted on the commission’s website on a well-by-well basis.