When the Gas Industry Says “Full Disclosure,” It Only Means 65%

by jim on September 27, 2012

According to an EneryWire analysis, "at least one chemical was kept secret in 65 percent of fracking disclosures" by companies that publicly disclosed the ingredients in their hydraulic fracturing fluid.

The study supports the claims of critics including Downwinders, that companies who say they're fully disclosing the contents of their fracking fluids aren't really doing so. Downwinders has joined other members of the Dallas Residents at Risk alliance in calling for the City of Dallas to require true full disclosure of all fracking fluids in order to better protect first responders.

Industry claims it has a right to prevent the public, including doctors, firefighters, and police from knowing certain "trade secret" ingredients in their fracking fluids and every clearinghouse for ingredient information – including the much-heralded one established in Texas – allows for the use of this exemption. This trade use exemption is what the EnergyWire analysis tracked.

"It's outrageous that citizens are not getting all the information they need about fracking near their homes," said Amy Mall, who tracks drilling issues for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Companies should not be able to keep secrets about potentially dangerous chemicals they're bringing into communities and injecting into the ground near drinking water."

But companies say they spend millions of dollars researching and developing new formulations of frack fluid and shouldn't have to give away their secret recipes.

"In just the past 18 months, the industry has spearheaded an effort that took us from an idea on paper about disclosure to a fully functional and user-friendly disclosure system," said Steve Everley of Energy in Depth, a campaign of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. "That kind of commitment and progress cannot be overstated in a discussion about industry disclosure."

This is very simple. If your a Dallas firefighter responding to an accident at a gas facility site, you need to know what chemicals are on site, how much of those chemicals are there, and where they're stored. No exceptions.

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