Yesterday, the states of Colorado and Texas approved strengthened regulations requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing of wells drilled to extract oil or gas.
These two new rules are good steps towards better public protection from hazardous fracking chemicals. Both of these rules were improved over previous versions thanks to public pressure — especially in the case of Colorado.
But they are just steps, as we still need to address all the toxic chemicals connected to natural gas development. And that can only be achieved by plugging federal loopholes through the FRAC and BREATHE Acts.
For the first time in any state, Colorado's rules would require the public disclosure on FracFocus.org of all chemicals used and their concentrations, except for those approved as trade secrets.
Texas's rules would require the public disclosure on FracFocus.org of all chemicals used, but not the concentrations of non-MSDS chemcials. Operators can claim as trade secrets any chemicals they want, although those claims are subject to limited challenges by nearby landowners through the Texas Attorney General's office.