FRAC Act Reintroduced in US Congress to Disclose Chemicals Used in Fracking

by Duane Nichols on March 26, 2011

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., have reintroduced the bill formally known as the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, or FRAC Act. Similar legislation that calls for the EPA to regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, failed to pass in the last Congress. The Act would require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking, but not the proprietary chemical formulas.
 This FRAC Act would also repeal a provision added to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempting the industry from complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Also, it would enable the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require oversight of exploration or drilling phase of the work.
However, Representative Bill Shuster said, “If the EPA can regulate fracking, they will come in here and shut everything down.” Yet, it is well known that the chemicals going down into the wells for fracking are not nearly so toxic as the chemicals that come up in the blowback water. Could an amendment be added to the FRAC Act to require the monitoring of the blowback water and the solid residues resulting from fracking?

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Susan March 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Dear Mr. Nichols:

You buried your lede. The title should read:

FRAC Act Reintroduced in US Congress–
Fails to Address Toxicity of the Blowback Waste Water.

Even IF 100% fresh water was used to hydrofrack these oil wells, the WASTE water returning to the surface would still be a toxic nightmare This Blowback Waste Water oftentimes is “laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground.”
The toxic blowback water is initially stored in on-site containment ponds which often overflow with heavy rain or simply fail because of inadequate construction. After evaporating the volatile gases, the ultimate destination of this carcinogenic liquid cesspool is a crapshoot. Basically its dispersed back into streams and waterways. Most municipal sewage plants (if Any) are not equipped to detoxify it. At best (or Absolute Worst) it is injected into on-site Class II Injection Disposal Wells under intense pressure. Swarm earthquakes have occurred near such sites in Arkansas and also WV.

“Drillers trucked at least half of this waste to public sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania in 2008 and 2009, according to state officials.”… – part of which found its way to WV sewage treatment plants.
“most of these facilities cannot remove enough of the radioactive material to meet federal drinking-water standards before discharging the wastewater into rivers, sometimes just miles upstream from drinking-water intake plants.”

“Quotes” are from which concerns Pennsylvania. All of which are equally applicable to WV.


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