The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission green lights new hydraulic fracturing disclosure rule, ‘trade secrets’ safe for now

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From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

The rule allows oil and gas companies to claim that some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking,” are proprietary trade secrets, but requires companies to disclose the names and concentrations of all other chemicals…

“We have a good rule that’s an important step forward for Colorado,” said Mike Freeman, a Denver-based attorney for the Earthjustice environmental advocacy group. “This is the first state rule that I know of that requires the disclosure of chemical concentrations of all chemicals, not just those covered by workplace safety rules,” Freeman said…

“The industry gave dramatically” when it agreed to include chemical concentrations, said Tisha Schuller, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), a trade group. “And we gave because Colorado requires a level of transparency that’s not required by other states,” she said…

“We think these rules are a model for other states, and also that they’re the right rules for Colorado, our families and our neighbors,” said Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. The rule, which takes effect on April 1, will give oil and gas companies between 60 and 120 days to post information about the chemicals used in fracking operations at a website, http://www.fracfocus.com.

Companies claiming trade secret protection for the name or concentration must fill out a new form, Form 41, that outlines what can and can’t be considered a trade secret. If someone believes that companies are inappropriately using the trade secret claim they can ask the COGCC to look into the matter, and file a lawsuit if they’re not happy with the commission’s response, Neslin said.

The Denver Business Journal is running a roundup of their articles about hydraulic fracturing, as well.

More coverage from Mark Jaffe writing for The Denver post. Click through for the cool photo from the Associated Press. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The level of detail required in this rule is much greater than other states require,” said Mike Freeman, an attorney for the environmental law group Earthjustice.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission unanimously adopted the rule after last-minute negotiations among environmental groups, industry and state regulators…

Some states, such as New Mexico, only require that chemicals identified by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration as hazardous in the workplace, be listed.

“We know that is about half the chemicals in fracking fluid, so we are doubling the number of chemicals” to be disclosed, said David Neslin, the commission’s executive director.

Other states, such as Wyoming and Arkansas, require all chemicals be listed, but do not require revealing the concentrations of the ingredients, Freeman said…

The compromise on the chemical concentrations was that the chemicals and concentrations would be listed separately from the descriptions of the products in the frack fluid. This would make it difficult to know which chemicals go in which products.

More coverage from P. Solomon Banda writing for the Associated Press via the Boston Globe. From the article:

The guidelines are similar to those required by a first-in-the-nation law passed in Texas this year but go further by requiring the concentrations of chemicals to be disclosed. Also, if Colorado drillers claim a trade secret, they would still have to disclose the ingredient’s chemical family. In emergencies, companies would have to tell health care workers what those secret ingredients were…

In recent years, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming have proposed or adopted rules requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals.

More coverage from Hendrik Sybrandy writing for Fox31. From the article:

“It’s a real win for the citizens of Colorado,” said Tom Thompson, Chairman of the COGCC. “This is really a small part in ensuring that our water supplies are protected.”

Tisha Schuller, the President of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, which represents the industry, also heralded the collaboration that led to the adoption of the new rule.

“The Commission’s unanimous support for the new hydraulic fracturing disclosure rule is great news for Colorado,” Schuller said. “The Hickenlooper Administration, environmental groups, and the oil and gas industry have agreed upon a rule of which all Coloradoans can be proud.”[…]

Anadarko Petroleum is currently doing tests near the Murphy Creek and Cross Creek subdivisions in east Aurora. Ward Two Council member Renie Peterson held an informational session at the city’s municipal building to provide residents details about the project and fracking in general.

“Constituents, they don’t understand, and of course fear triggers outrage,” Peterson said before the meeting.

“As a scientist that studied a lot of neurotoxins and neurodegenerative diseases, I know some of these chemicals they’re putting in the ground and what they can do long-term to human health,” said Eric Neeley, a Cross Creek resident who’s opposed to the Anadarko project.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

2 thoughts on “The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission green lights new hydraulic fracturing disclosure rule, ‘trade secrets’ safe for now

  1. We purchased our home and we did not get a disclosure that we were on top of a shale mound. What recourse do we have with the Beazer Home regarding them not disclosing this information to us when we bought the property. Incidentally we paid an additional $25,000 for our view of the golf course and the rockies now our $25,000 view will be the Hydraulic Fracking?

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