Fracking Chemicals May Be Unknown, Even To Gas Drillers, Docs Suggest

"Critics of hydraulic fracturing, known widely as 'fracking,' have been pushing hard for natural gas companies to disclose all of the chemicals in the fluids that are used in the process. But what if the companies themselves don't even know what those chemicals are?"

"Documents from a lawsuit against Texas-based Range Resources suggest that they may not. The documents are part of an appeal that a resident of Washington County, Pa., has made to the state's Environmental Hearing Board. The plaintiff in the case alleges that a Range wastewater impoundment, which holds water left over from hydraulic fracturing operations, contaminated well water. Washington County has been a focal point in the debate over fracking, which uses a high-pressure stream of water, sand and chemicals to tap into shale reserves below the earth's surface.

As part of the discovery process in this case, a judge directed Range to release the full list of chemicals used in its drilling operations, including the components of all the products that are used at every stage in the gas drilling process. But Range says in its filing that it has been unable to obtain from its suppliers the ingredients in many of the products. Range has been inquiring with its manufacturers about the ingredients in 55 different products, including lubricants, drilling fluids, slurry and surfactants, according to documents. But in many cases, Range had not yet been able to obtain the information."

Kate Sheppard reports for the Huffington Post September 27, 2013.

Friday, September 27, 2013