For Release: May 11, 2011
Cyrus Reed, 512-740-4086 or
Donna Hoffman, 512-477-1729 or 512-299-5776
Texas House of Representatives Passes Fracking Disclosure Bill
First Step to Protect Groundwater through Natural Gas Drilling Regulation in Texas but Not Landmark Legislation First Proposed
(Austin) Today, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 3328, a bill to require a well-by-well disclosure of hydraulic fracturing “fracking” fluids and additives used on natural gas drilling sites.
“The bill would for the first time would require mandatory disclosure of most chemicals and additives on a
well-by-well basis,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter. “However, this is a missed opportunity to do more. While the bill requires chemicals regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be listed by amount and concentration on a well-by-well basis, this bill still exempts “trade secret” chemicals, provides only limited data on non-OSHA chemicals does not provide advance notice to landowners and provides limited third-party challenges to the trade secret exemptions.”
The bill passed on a voice vote on second reading and will be eligible for third reading tomorrow on the House floor. At the same time, the Senate version of the bill, SB 1930, will be up for a committee hearing in the Senate tomorrow.
The Sierra Club was able to get an amendment on the bill that would make it clear all data would be available well-by-well on a public website and will continue to advocate for improvements to the bill, including:
• Full well-by-well disclosure of all chemicals, including those regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and those not regulated by OSHA;
• A more inclusive list of who
can challenge any chemicals
claimed as trade secrets, including those landowners living
within a mile of any well shaft;
• A process for the agency to
determine if trade secret claims are meritorious and to not give a blanket protection
to trade secrets claimed by the industry.
Reed noted, “As Texas is a leader in the oil and gas industry, what happens in Texas reflects much of the gas work around the country. A good disclosure bill has the chance of bolstering disclosure in other states. A weaker disclosure bill could provide fodder for the gas industry to continue to hide these ‘trade secret’ fluids
at drilling sites across the country.”