Friday, January 6, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Colorado's New Fracking Rules

Huffington Post
Gary Wockner
Jan 2, 2012 4:05

First, the good: A few weeks ago, the State of Colorado passed the strongest rules in the United States for publicly disclosing what cancer-causing and other types chemicals are used in oil and gas fracking. In a ground-breaking and intense set of negotiations between oil and gas companies and environmentalists, frackers are now forced to publicly disclose when they are fracking and what chemicals they use in fracking.  

This disclosure gets at two very serious concerns posed by fracking: 1) when fracking pollution occurs in groundwater, in streams, or on land, the public should be able to connect that pollution back to the fracking chemicals that caused it, and 2) it will allow landowners to test their wells and groundwater prior to fracking, and then re-test after fracking to check for fracking pollution.

Importantly, the new rules substantively removed the "trade secret loophole" that was proposed in the original version of the rules that would have allowed frackers to not disclose the names of the chemicals in fracking fluids by saying those chemicals were "trade secrets." Led by attorneys from Earthjustice in Denver, the environmental community held its ground against this ridiculous exemption.

Thank you, industry leaders, Governor Hickenlooper, and environmentalists for passing these new rules. 

Now for the bad: These new rules...

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