Bittersweet Fracking Bill

Just last week, Texas adopted regulations that require oil and gas companies to disclose the toxic chemicals used in their "fracking fluids". This rule will take place in Texas beginning February 1, 2012. Although a compromise, this bill is an effort between local, state, and national levels brought to the industry.

First of all, with Texas being our energy capital, it is surprising a bill such as this was passed. The legislation overcame many hurdles in the process including attempted delays to the bill, efforts to kill the bill in the Texas Senate, and industry dismissal of certain rules. Therefore, when this bill was passed through a politically difficult industry, a milestone moment was created.

Furthermore, although it is a step that the bill is passed, it is not of the best practice. The bill requires all wells fracked after February 1, 2012 to display detailed information on the chemical registry internet site about the chemicals sent down during the process. Unfortunately, this does not include wells drilled prior to the first of February and wells that are refracked after this date. In addition, some chemicals not regulated by OSHA do not require concentrations while other chemicals can be listed as "trade secret" in turn disclosing no information.

Despite the hard work from many environmental organizations, the bill turned out to be a mediocre version of what it was meant to be. Nonetheless, a bill was a passed; a big step towards making a difference. There is hope that the recent implementation will serve as a lesson on the need to become engaged in the matter.

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