Monday, November 8, 2010

Halliburton objects, so PA limits fracking disclosure rules

Christine Baker/The Patriot-News
A funny thing happened on the way to tighter public disclosure rules for fracking fluids in Pennsylvania.

Halliburton sent a letter of objection and bingo, the rules suddenly got less stringent.

Initial drafts of the rules required drillers to disclose all types of chemicals contained in the millions of gallons of fracking fluids they pump deep below ground to dislodge natural gas from shale formations. 

The final draft of the rules allow drillers to designate parts of the record as containing trade secrets that will be kept from the public, according to as story in yesterday's Times Tribune,

Another new provision requires drillers to disclose only the chemicals listed on federal safety documents - called material safety data sheets - instead of every toxic or nontoxic chemical injected into a well.

What prompted rule drafters at the state Department of Environmental Protection to make the changes?

Times Tribune staff writer Laura Legere reports:
"The changes were motivated by a comment letter submitted by Halliburton, the energy services giant, questioning the need for disclosure beyond what is contained in material safety data sheets and saying the draft regulations created "serious risks" to its trade secrets, including the identity of "specific proprietary chemicals."   
Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation and one of the largest providers of fracking fluids. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000. Critics say that Cheney, after becoming vice president, was a prime driver behind the adoption of  the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 which specifically exempted fracking from the Water Drinking Act and the Clean Water Act.

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