Natasha Geiling | ThinkProgress | Reader Supported News | November 27, 2015
ant to know what chemicals energy companies use in their hydraulic fracking operations? Turns out it’s getting harder and harder to answer that question.
According to a new study published in the journal Energy Policy, fracking companies have become less forthcoming since 2013 about the chemicals used in their operations, citing “the use of proprietary compounds” as grounds for limiting their disclosure.
The study, written by Harvard University researchers Kate Konschnik and Archana Dayalas as a follow-up to a similar analysis conducted in 2013, looked at more than 96,000 disclosures made between March 2011 and April 2015 on FracFocus, a hydraulic fracturing chemical registry. According to Inside Climate News, FracFocus was launched in 2011 as a tool for collecting voluntary disclosures from oil and gas companies, and was later adopted by more than 20 states in order to fulfill their chemical disclosure regulations.
But FracFocus’ ability to act as a proxy for state’s chemical disclosure regulations has been under fire for years. In the 2013 study, Koschnik argued that states were effectively giving up their oversight ability by directing oil and gas companies to FracFocus, and that the site failed to account for specific state-level requirements. By applying a “one-size-fits-all” approach to fracking chemicals, the study argued, FracFocus gave oil and gas companies too much leeway, allowing them to miss deadlines and withhold information.