Companies asked to disclose fracking chemicals

The drilling rig of Cuadrilla Resources explores the Bowland shale for gas, four miles from Blackpool on January 17, 2011 in Blackpool, England.

JEREMY HOBSON: The drilling process known as "fracking" has boosted supplies of natural gas big time. But it's also caused environmental concerns. Today, the Department of Energy will get recommendations on regulation.

As Eve Troeh reports from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.


Eve Troeh: A committee led by chemist and former energy secretary John Deutsch took a hard look at fracking.

John Deutsch: Water quality, air quality, the community disruption from trucks going through.

The report says it's pretty unlikely that fracking chemicals will contaminate drinking water, but the industry's reluctance to list chemicals has made people suspicious. Deutsch says regulators and gas companies have to build trust.

Deutsch: But it begins by a respect, taking the time to collect data, analyze it and see that you improve.

Companies are disclosing more. Matt Pitzarella is with Range Resources. It fracks for gas around the U.S., and lists every chemical on its own website.

Matt Pitzarella: Exactly what we used, why we used it, the percentage, the volume and the percent by weight.

The Deutsch committee says raw data isn't enough. It wants a national database of chemicals, wells -- every fracking thing that labs and agencies could study.

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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