Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Texas to create public, online database of fracking chemicals

Two Texas state government groups are working together to launch a national online database containing information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council say the database, known as the Chemical Registry for Hydraulic Fracturing, will take one year to complete and cost around $3 million, Jack Z. Smith of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. "The process, dubbed 'fracking,' pumps water, sand and chemicals under high pressure to fracture underground rock formations and allow oil and gas to flow," Smith writes.

The purpose of the registry is to create and maintain a voluntary national data system "that is user-friendly and available to the public, first responders and emergency personnel," Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo told Smith. "The announcement said 'most energy companies are expected to actively participate in the program,' but did not explain how that might occur," Smith writes. Fracking, which has opened up vast natural gas reserves in shale formations like the Barnett Shale in north Texas, has come under fire for possible groundwater contamination. (Read more)

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