EARTHblog

A Welcome Fracking Earthquake, for a Change

December 16, 2011 • Bruce Baizel

If you felt the earth tremble beneath your feet this past week, it may not have been because of an earthquake caused by a nearby injection well, or a shale gas well being fracked on your neighbor’s property.

It was more likely because of two things, one good and one bad.

First, the bad news:  the EPA confirmed that the presence of contamination in water wells near Pavillion, Wyoming could be due to hydraulic fracturing.

Second, the good news:  two states – Texas and Colorado - approved chemical disclosure rules for hydraulic fracturing chemicals on the same day.

The larger victory here:  the Colorado rule for the first time elevates the community right to know principle (disclosure) above the narrow economic principle of protecting corporate property.

The door has now been opened for other states and the U.S. Department of Interior to step through.  Maybe a federal standard on disclosure would be a good next step.