DENVER, COLO. — A report released 12/9/11 by the Environmental Protection Agency underscores the importance of increased caution and transparency in chemical disclosure when it comes to energy development and specifically hydraulic fracturing.
The EPA released its draft findings from an investigation into water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming revealing that ground water in the aquifer contained compounds associated with gas production and practices, including compounds from hydraulic fracturing. The findings run counter to the argument industry and indeed, even regulatory agencies have made that the drilling process poses little to no risk to water supplies.
"Natural gas is an important economic part of the west. But we need to do it right and we need to be careful with our water," said Brad Powell, western energy director for Trout Unlimited, a member of the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development Coalition (SFRED). "Water is the most important resource we have in the West and while we want to develop our energy resources, there's no question that we absolutely have to protect our water resources too."
Pavillion has long been a place of interest when it comes to the link between energy development and water contamination after several rural water wells turned bad. Local residents reported wells which had been in good function for years suddenly turning sour, smelling of fuel vapors, some even developing small oil slicks on the surface. Eventually a study was opened under the EPA's Superfund program, leading to the release of today's draft results.
While the agency was clear that its assessment was specific to Pavillion and not necessarily the norm, the findings re-emphasize the need for improved processes, sensible regulation and increased oversight when it comes to the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
Sportsmen have long been calling for better drilling practices, but many states are just beginning to take a look at how they regulate the disclosure of chemicals used in the drilling process. For members of the SFRED coalition, that means public disclosure of what's in fracking fluids with no exemptions for trade secrets.
"Coca Cola doesn't have to disclose its formula, but Coca Cola has to list the ingredients on the side of its bottle," said Kate Zimmerman, National Wildlife Federation's senior policy adviser on public lands.
Some states have approved or are considering fracking regulations. A rule proposed by Colorado includes a loophole that allows companies to declare the contents of fracturing fluid trade secrets without certifying or justifying the information is proprietary - a loophole many conservation groups oppose.
"The EPA's draft findings from Pavillion make clearer than ever the urgency of the need for a complete, transparent, and enforceable disclosure rule so that states like Colorado can begin to get a handle on the very real risks to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing." says Michael Saul, attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, also an SFRED member.
From here, the findings will be opened for a 45 day public comment period and submitted to an independent panel of scientists for a 30-day review. More information on national study on potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources can be found at the EPA's website, www.epa.gov. Additional information on SFRED's work can be found at sportsmen4responsibleenergy.org.
Eliminate the EPA!!! They are not a friend of sportsmen and most sportsmen support responsible (the way almost all of it already is) development. If we can't afford to put fuel in our vehicles, we can't go fishing. Environmental extremists are one of the biggest enemies sportsmen face, and many of them mask themselves as "conservationists."
Tu does some good things, but a good portion of them are progressive environmentalists who support things like native fish only, fly fishing only, and no bait on any trout water.
Operation Game Thief Call to report illegal fishing/hunting: