Texas passes ‘fracking’ disclosure law (w/ related video)
Texas now requires natural gas well operators to disclose the chemicals they pump into the ground to drive the gas to the surface, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Several states have considered similar rules because of the chemicals’ potential to contaminate drinking water.
The bill intends to address public concerns about the transparency of fracking, while allowing oil and gas companies to continue using the procedure in the state, as they have for years, according to Gov. Rick Perry’s office. “These bills will help us stay on top [of the energy production market] by expanding our use of Texas sources of fuel, while addressing public concern about air and groundwater quality,” Perry said in a statement.
Texas generates nearly one-third of all domestic natural gas, and contains one-fourth of all U.S. oil reserves and refining capacity. Perry also signed two other related laws, one that creates incentives for heavy-duty natural gas vehicles and natural gas fueling infrastructure; and another that provides funding for additional air monitoring in the Barnett Shale region.
Last year, New York placed a moratorium on fracking, but the state is now considering a new process to use on private land not in certain watersheds or on underground aquifers, according to the its Department of Environmental Conservation. Other states are slowly ramping up their own fracking rules — including Colorado, which amended its regulations in late 2008, and Pennsylvania, which is exploring new enforcements. Fracking is suspected of polluting groundwater in Wyoming, Texas and other states as well, according to the Sheridan, Wyo.-based Powder River Basin Resource Council conservation group.