Opinion: Avoiding America's next drilling disaster, Casey, Robert, and DeGette Diana , Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, (2010)


While our nation copes with the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the multiple failures of offshore drilling regulation that led to it, another potential fossil-fuel crisis lurks onshore.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," injects tens of thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock formations to release natural gas. The injected fracking fluids are known to include a variety of harmful chemicals, such as diesel fuel, benzene, methanol, and formaldehyde. Even low concentrations of these chemicals can have severe health and environmental consequences, and they are being used near drinking water supplies...

...Some in the industry have said disclosure would reveal proprietary data. On the contrary, just as Coca-Cola must disclose a list of ingredients but not the details of its secret formula, our proposal would ask energy companies to share the ingredients of their fracking fluids but not the specific recipes.

Others have opposed federal regulation on the grounds that state regulations are sufficient. However, only a handful of states have fracking-fluid disclosure requirements, and some don't make the data public.

Robert Casey is a Democratic U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Diana DeGette is a Democratic U.S. representative from Colorado.

See opposing viewpoint from Energy in Depth, "House Call on the FRAC Act".