Source: American City and Country
Aug 18, 2011 5:13 PM
A subcommittee of an advisory board for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is recommending several new regulations for the natural gas industry, including requiring full disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as "fracking," is the process of pumping chemicals into shale deposits to drive natural gas to the surface, and officials in several states have expressed concern over possible contamination of ground water by the process.
The recommendations, released Aug. 11 by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Shale Gas Production Subcommittee, call for increased measurement, public disclosure and a commitment to continuous improvement in the development and environmental management of shale gas, according to a DOE press release. Specifically, the report includes recommendations in four areas:
• The identity of all chemicals used in "fracking" fluids should be fully disclosed. While finding that the risk of leakage of fracturing fluids through fractures made in deep shale reserves is remote where there is large separation from drinking water, the report finds that there is no economic or technical reason to prevent public disclosure of all chemicals used in fracturing fluids. It also calls for the creation of a national database of all public information made about shale gas to permit easier access by all interested parties.
• Measures should be taken to reduce emission of air pollutants, ozone precursors and methane as quickly as practicable, and standards to reduce emissions of all air contaminants should be adopted promptly. The subcommittee recommends the design and rapid implementation of measurement systems to collect comprehensive methane and other air emissions data from shale gas operations, and that a federal interagency planning effort be launched immediately to analyze the overall greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas operations.
Read the press release or committee's full report.