Colorado to decide on fracking disclosure

Eve Troeh Dec 13, 2011

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.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.