Fracking industry refusing to report which chemicals they’re using

In the latest example of the Big Energy choosing which laws they want to follow, a new study shows that the fracking industry fails to disclose the chemicals or quantities of chemicals used during the fracking process up to 30% of the time, depending on the state. Attempts by states to rely on industry self-reporting are not showing great success.

Yes, a business needs to keep certain information secret, but the results to date hardly look fair, or even safe. Between problems with drinking water contamination and environmental cleanup issues, these programs need a second look. How could it possibly be considered fair to leave locals wondering about safe drinking water and put their trust in companies that have something to hide?

toxic environment water fracking

Toxic via Shutterstock

Also, how are local authorities supposed to respond to an accident – and accidents happen – when they aren’t aware of what chemicals are being used on the process? Isn’t this putting these people at risk if there are unknown chemicals? If they have to prepare for everything, this could also slow down the response, potentially causing even more problems.

The fracking industry has relied on “environmental” groups for support, but even those groups are having doubts about this system. Maybe these “business-friendly” environmental groups were hoping for the best, but now that the fracking industry is making a mockery out of the self-disclosure, they might not be as eager or willing to provide cover to this industry.

Bloomberg on the latest problem related to fracking.

The 19,000 trade-secret claims made in Texas this year through August hid information that included descriptions of ingredients as well as identification numbers and concentrations of the chemicals used. Overall, oil and gas companies withheld information on about one out of every seven ingredients they pumped into 3,639 wells.

In 5,000 other instances, Texas well operators failed to disclose information without saying why, filling in boxes on forms with “N/A” or “mixture,” for example, or leaving them blank. Such omissions raised the total to almost seven secrets per well from about five.

Nationally, companies claimed trade secrets or otherwise failed to identify the chemicals they used about 22 percent of the time, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of FracFocus data for 18 states. The data were compiled and released this month by SkyTruth.org, a website that uses data and digital mapping to investigate environmental issues.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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