Colorado to decide on fracking disclosure

The state will rule on whether oil and gas companies have to list all the chemicals they use to do hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Environmentalists want them to disclose much more. Fracking opponents protested in New York this past November.

Steve Chiotakis: The state of Colorado today will decide whether to make energy companies list all the chemicals they use to do hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. But environmentalists want them to disclose much more.

From the Marketplace sustainability desk, Eve Troeh reports.

Eve Troeh: In public meetings, oil and gas companies say hydraulic fracturing does not pose significant risk. But Dusty Horwitt at the Environmental Working Group just led a six-month investigation on what those companies tell their investors. He found a different story.

Dusty Horwitt: Here you have them disclosing a long list of risks to shareholders. Very severe risks: Leaks, spills, explosions, limited insurance coverage, bodily injury, death.

The law requires companies to list the most significant risks to their bottom line, in annual financial reports. Horwitt says if shareholders are being warned, then landowners signing over their rights should be warned, too.

Michael Giberson is with the Center for Energy Commerce at Texas Tech. He says this isn't a case of investors getting special treatment.

Michael Giberson: I think that that's kind of a stretch, to try to make something out of this. You know the information about the risk is sort of widely available and known.

And he says the risks explained in financial reports are broad. Anyone approached by a drilling company should study the specific risks for themselves.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.


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