A little late, but I wanted to write about a June decision by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to approve new requirements intended to better protect groundwater from oil and gas driling in the state. Amond other things, the new rules require detailed disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and other operations. Several aspects of this are quite significant:
1) The rules require disclosure of chemicals proposed to be used on the application for a permit--before drilling even starts, . This would allow a homeowner to conduct baseline testing of drinking water to prove that the water does not have the chemicals in it before driling begins. The rules also require a report after fracturing to confirm what chemicals were actually used.
2) These new requirements were proposed by the Governor, in a state that's been described as "run by the fossil fuel industry."
3) The vote was unanimous among Commissioners. See #2.
4) The rules require disclosure of the chemical but also its volume, concentration, and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number.
5) Drum roll please..........the industry did not oppose the rule.
Our colleagues in Wyoming called this a "good step forward." We agree. The new rules cover a lot of other issues also, but as far as I know, Wyoming is ahead of everyone else in being the only state in the nation currently requiring full, public disclosure of all chemicals used. The new rules give industry the opportunity to argue that some chemicals are "trade secrets" and should remain confidential. It remains to be seen how Wyoming deals with any situations like that, but we are hopeful that the public will get the information it has been requesting for quite some time.