Update: Industry, Environmental Group Working on Shale Gas Drilling Rules

Michael Giberson

Last November we noted that industry and environmental groups in Texas were working together on fracking disclosure rules. Earlier this month a bill was introduced in the Texas House that would establish disclosure rules for fracking fluids.

Kate Galbraith reports in The Texas Tribune, “Texas Could Require Disclosure of Drilling Chemicals“:

Hydraulic fracturing, an increasingly common method of extracting natural gas that involves shooting a concoction of water, sand and chemicals deep underground, has sparked controversy around the country — not least because drillers mostly keep their chemical formulas secret. But Texas, the leading gas-producing state, could help change industry practices by requiring public disclosure of the chemicals used.

bill filed this month by state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, who chairs the House Committee on Energy Resources, would create a website containing information about the chemicals used in each well. The bill has won praise from both industry and major environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, the Texas League of Conservation Voters and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). [Links in original.]

See also this story from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In related news, the Texas Railroad Commission (which regulates oil and gas production in Texas) had harsh comments for the federal Environmental Protection Agency as the Railroad Commission voted to clear Range Resources of charges that it had contaminated water wells in Parker County, Texas. EPA concluded otherwise in a December 2010 “endangerment order.”

I suspect this fight isn’t over. Two of the three current Railroad Commissioners are among state politicians considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Fighting the EPA helps keep the commissioners in the news.