The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission tentatively approved a rule we first told you about last week. The rule would require gas companies to disclose the names of the chemicals used in the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing. There are currently no such requirements in Arkansas. You can read the text of the rule here. A couple of minor amendments were made after public comments were heard at today’s monthly AOGC meeting. AOGC Director Larry Bengal said the commission heard comments from the League of Women Voters, Citizens Against Resource Exploitation (CARE) and Halliburton.
More, including a statement from Bengal, on the jump.
One amendment that environmental groups had hoped to see in the rule, that made it in to the draft today, requires companies to contact medical professionals directly in the case of an emergency so doctors will know what they’re dealing with. The rule will also require that the names and amounts of additives used in fracking fluids — like acids, corrosion inhibitors and friction reducers, just to name a few — be reported. However, the specific chemical components of each of those additives will not be made public. Gas companies have long argued that that information, along with their specific amounts, is proprietary. A list of those chemicals will be made available to medical professionals should the need arise.
“It pretty much meets the needs of everyone’s concerns,” Bengal says. “The chemicals will be made available on a well-by-well basis, so if there’s a fear that a well has been contaminated, you can look on this list and see what chemicals were used on the gas well near your house and test for them. That’s the whole purpose.”
Bengal said the rule had been “tentatively approved,” which means the amendments will be added, final copies will be distributed to commissioners and, barring any further comments or questions, the rule will become effective on January 15 of 2011.