Casey Fracking Chemical Disclosure Included in Senate Energy Bill

WASHINGTON, DC—Provisions proposed by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to require the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing has been included in The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act to be considered on the Senate floor.  The language is based on part of Senator Casey’s Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (S.1215).

“I am pleased that provisions to require public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking are included in legislation moving forward in the Senate,” said Senator Casey.  “The explosive growth of natural gas wells in Pennsylvania and recent incidents involving some of these wells highlights the urgent need for this legislation.  Pennsylvanians have the right to know what is being injected into the ground at thousands of sites across the Commonwealth.”

The injection of unknown and potentially toxic chemicals often occurs near drinking water wells.  Three million Pennsylvanians are dependent on private wells for water.  Troubling incidents have occurred around the country where people became ill after fracking operations began in their communities. Some chemicals that are known to have been used in fracking include diesel fuel, benzene, industrial solvents and other carcinogens and endocrine disrupters.

Specifically, the disclosure provisions in The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act:

•    Amends the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which was designed to help local communities protect public health, safety, and the environment from chemical hazards.

•    Requires a well operator to disclose, to the state and to the public, a list of the chemicals used in each hydraulic fracturing process, including chemical constituents (but not the proprietary chemical formulas), Chemical Abstracts Service registry numbers and material safety data sheets.  If the state does not have a disclosure program in effect, requires disclosure directly to the public.

•    Requires disclosure to be well-specific.

•    Requires disclosure of a propriety formula or chemical constituents to a treating physician or nurse in the case of a medical emergency.  A confidentiality agreement may be obtained as soon as circumstances permit.

•    Removes threshold limitations normally required under EPCRA, so that all amounts of chemicals are required to be reported.