Environmentalist Shawn Porter contends that the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission rule on disclosure of chemicals used in fracking to tap gas deposits in the Fayetteville shale isn't sufficiently transparent. (As noted here, while Arkansas has proposed requiring disclosure of specific chemicals used, it will allow companies to keep secret the formulas for mixing the chemicals in each well.)
Porter writes a call for objection to the Commission's adoption of the rule without further public hearings.
At a public meeting in Guy, AR (November 9, 2010), Ar Oil and Gas Commission director Larry Bengal went on record stating that chemicals used in fracking would be publicly disclosed in Rule B-19. The AOGC also had a draft of the rule on the AOGC website till the day of the meeting held on December 7th to consider the rule and receive public input.
Unknown to the public, a revised draft (mark-up) was passed out at the meeting that had been changed from the original draft markup on the AOGC website. The revised draft allowed drilling companies to continue withholding information about chemicals used in fracking, calling them proprietary trade secrets. AOGC now says it is prepared to implement the new rule on Jan 15, in spite of the fact that the public never had an opportunity to comment on the final mark-up.
Public disclosure of fracking chemicals lies at the heart of any attempt to hold gas and drilling companies responsible for damage to water and health. AOGC and industry will succeed in keeping that information private unless this key provision in rule B-19 is revised.
AOGC should be challenged and a stay issued to stop the rule from going into effect without full public disclosure of fracking chemicals. We know from studies in other states these fracking compounds are carcinogenic and contain endocrine disrupting compounds. This agency must be held accountable for playing a shell game with its own rulemaking process. Where is the AG's office when the public interest and welfare is at stake? Hiding their heads in the fracking sand?
- Shawn Porter