Property Contamination FAQs

Will Companies Disclose Chemicals Used in Fracking?

Yes, in June 2011, the Texas governor signed into law a bill that requires public disclosure of the chemicals that are used to perform hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in the state of Texas.

The law mandates that companies report the total volume of water and chemicals used for each hydraulic fracturing well, starting in July 2012. However, the law protects the oil and natural gas companies from going public with the specific chemical abstract service numbers and concentrations of chemicals, which are considered "trade secrets." The law rose out of a concern about both water and land contamination in areas where fracking was becoming increasingly common, such as certain counties in south Texas. People wanted to make sure that oil and gas companies were not benefiting at the risk of Texas resident's safety and wellbeing.

Oil and gas companies are now going to have to be more transparent about what types of chemicals they use, where they use them, and how much they use them. The legislation also includes requirements about the amount of water used in fracking, since it is a cause for concern how much water is being used and where it is being taken from. The current reported amount of water used in fracking operations is less than 1 percent of Texas' supply, but many believe this number is not up to date. Many wish the law would have gone further, but it will undoubtedly lead to better protection for south Texas residents who are being exposed to the dangers of fracking in the Eagle Ford Shale area. The only concern is with making sure that south Texas residents do not suffer health problems and economic calamity as the result of fracking.

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