Coming Clean–Western Org. of Resource Councils 04_20_11

Coming_Clean–W e s t e r n  O r g a n i z a t i o n   o f  R e s o u r c e   C o u n c i l s   4/20/11

WORC’s principles for measuring the effectiveness of policies for disclosure
of fracking fluids and other chemicals used in oil and gas production. *Coming
Clean *discusses disclosure as an important first step but only a first step
to controlling pollution of our air, land and water and threats to public.

WORC is a regional network of seven grassroots community organizations that include 10,000 members and 45 local chapters. WORC helps its member groups succeed by providing training and coordinating issue work.

Our Member Organizations are:

WORC’s mission is to advance the vision of a democratic, sustainable, and just society through community action. WORC is committed to building sustainable environmental and economic communities that balance economic growth with the health of people and stewardship of their land, water, and air resources.

110 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 306, Washington, DC 20002
(202) 547-7040 FAX (202) 543-0978 E-mail: April 2011

Coming Clean What We Should Know About Oil and Gas Chemicals
Concerns about the effects of oil and gas exploration and production on public health, air, water
and land are increasing with the spread of new drilling technology and development in new areas around
the country. Expanded production and potential impacts have increased the need for full and effective
regulation of all aspects of exploration and production.
Full disclosure of chemicals used in oil and gas development is an important first step towards
protection of our water, air and land, and it has become a widespread demand of people and groups
affected by oil and gas development. Although it is not a substitute for the effective regulation of well
drilling, completions and other aspects of the production process, full public access to information about
the chemicals used during the exploration and development is a step forward over current secrecy. With
full public access to this information, air and water can be tested for contaminants, health conditions can
be diagnosed and treated, and the effects of the chemicals used can be better understood. It’s time for the
oil and gas industry to come clean.
Policies requiring disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and other stages of oil and
gas development can be a significant first step towards effective protection from oil and gas pollution if
they are comprehensive and carefully written. Coming Clean sets out nine criteria that people and groups
affected by oil and gas development can use to evaluate existing and proposed disclosure policies.
Many states require oil and gas operators to keep records or submit reports of some type, but most
of these requirements are focused on waste injection wells, and not exploration and production wells.
Just two states – Arkansas and Wyoming – have mandated reporting of hydraulic fracturing
constituents and disclose these reports to the public. Although these state requirements are an important
step forward, both contain significant loopholes that allow companies to continue to keep important
information secret. Similarly, voluntary disclosure programs, while laudable, are no substitute for
mandatory disclosure.
As local, state, regional and federal governments consider new disclosure policies, these
loopholes must be closed to provide the public – especially people who live in the oil and gas fields –
with the information they need to protect their property, and the health and well-being of their families
and communities.

1. Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers must be reported to provide a unique identifier for each
chemical constituent used in a well, as well as the volume and chemical concentration.
Both Arkansas and Wyoming require CAS numbers to be reported for chemicals used in hydraulic

2. All chemical constituents used during the entire life cycle of oil and gas exploration and
development must
be disclosed — drilling chemicals as well as those used in hydraulic fracturing
and any other methods of well stimulation.
Disclosure of the constituents of hydraulic fracturing has been the subject of most public attention, for
good reasons, but all chemicals used in exploration, drilling and production are of as much concern as
those used in hydraulic fracturing. Several states require recordkeeping and/or reporting of drilling
chemicals, including Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania, although this information is not
disclosed to the public in these states.

3. Any protections for proprietary information must be carefully defined, with a clear decision
making process and standard of proof, and must provide for the release of the adverse health
effects of each chemical that is kept secret, release of proprietary information in the event of a
medical necessity, and regular review and appeal of proprietary designations.
Wyoming offers fairly broad protections for proprietary information that have allowed at least nine
companies to keep at least 107 hydraulic fracturing constituents secret from the public. The Arkansas
rules incorporate the trade secret protections in the federal Emergency Planning and Community
Right-to-Know Act, which meets the criteria listed above.
4. Information must be disclosed to the public.
Both Arkansas and Wyoming release reports of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to the public,
although publication of these reports is not required by statute or rules. Public disclosure should be
required by statue or rule, so that it cannot be rescinded without a legislative change, or at least a
formal rulemaking process.
5. Local landowners must be directly notified of chemical use in advance, with sufficient time before
drilling or stimulation to conduct baseline tests.
Wyoming requires operators to file plans for well stimulation in advance of hydraulic fracturing, and
this information is made available to the public online. Although no state currently requires advance
notice to landowners of chemical use, many states and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management have
statutes or policies requiring notification of landowners before entry and/or surface disturbing
activities. This notification should be expanded to include notification of chemical constituents to be
6. A timely final report must be made after drilling or stimulation, with chemical constituents actually
used, pressures, fracture lengths and heights, the type, source and quantity of fluid used, and the
quantity of fluid recovered.
Both Arkansas and Wyoming require reports after hydraulic fracturing with chemical constituents
used. In Wyoming, pressures used and fluids recovered are required in the completion reports.
The quantity and source of fluids used in well completions is a concern in many areas, particularly
where water supplies are limited and there are multiple uses. Arkansas requires disclosure of the type
and volume of hydraulic fracturing fluid. Wyoming requires detailed information as to the base
stimulation fluid source. New York requires oil and gas operators to submit annual statements showing
the volumes of fluids injected and produced.
7. Reports must be filed on a well-by-well basis.
Both Arkansas and Wyoming require most or all reports on a well-by-well basis.
8. In order to be effective and to earn the confidence of the public, a disclosure program must be
overseen by a regulatory agency with the expertise, resources and authority to monitor and enforce
disclosure requirements, recognize the public health consequences of the chemicals used, and take
action to protect public health and the environment.
Hydraulic fracturing disclosure programs in both Arkansas and Wyoming are overseen by Oil and
Gas Conservation Commissions, which have the primary task of ensuring efficient oil and gas
production. Although some oil and gas commissions are also tasked with protecting public health and
the environment but, as a general rule, expertise on the public health effects of chemicals is more
likely to reside within health departments. And, all of these agencies have limited manpower.
9. Penalties for failure to comply with disclosure requirements should be sufficient to encourage

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