You have to give the U.S. EPA some credit. The agency has done quite a bit to let the public know about some of the toxic chemicals that are pumped underground at high pressure into shale formations to extract gas and oil. Many "fracking" companies (the term for hydraulic fracturing to extract gas and oil) have tried to keep those chemicals secret — even while some residents complain fracking pollutes their drinking water.
EPA on March 27, 2015, published a database of nearly 700 chemicals used in fracking. That's the good news. The bad news is that EPA had to rely mostly on state and private-sector data reporting to do this — and that some of the chemicals still are not known.
The report stands as an example of how open-source and non-governmental efforts can overcome industry efforts to hide data on toxics. The data were assembled from a database called FracFocus, run jointly by states and industry organizations.
- "EPA Analysis of FracFocus 1 Data," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, March 27, 2015. Web page links to further pages and data comprising the report.
- "Fracking Companies Keep 10% of Chemicals Secret, EPA Says," InsideClimate News, March 31, 2015, by Neela Banerjee.
- "Most Drillers Keep Chemicals Secret in FracFocus, EPA Says," Bloomberg News, March 27, 2015, by Mark Drajem.
- "Fracking Operators Ran Up 2.5 Violations a Day, Study Shows," Bloomberg News, April 2, 2015, by Mark Drajem.
- "It's Almost Impossible To Find Data on Oil and Gas Spills in Most States," Huffington Post, April 1, 2015, by Kate Sheppard.
- "Fracking’s Most Wanted: Report Identifies Top 10 Oil & Gas Companies for Spills & Legal Violations," Natural Resources Defense Council release of April 1, 2015. Contains links to full report and other resources.
- Previous Story: WatchDog of April 24, 2013.