From Bloomberg News:
By Alison Vekshin - Apr 30, 2013 11:28 PM ET
California may set up its own system for tracking chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing by oil and natural gas producers, rather than depend on the current voluntary registry, the state’s energy industry regulator said.
California’s formal rule proposal may also extend the time required for prior notification of fracking, said Mark Nechodom, director of the state Conservation Department. He said the plan may be released in weeks.
“I really don’t want this to delay any further,” Nechodom said yesterday in an interview at a public meeting in Monterey.“We’re having meetings with different stakeholders like the environmental community, the industry, some of the health-care providers. Hopefully, we’ll wrap those up in a few weeks and get our official draft submitted.”
Fracking is a drilling technique that forces millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals deep into rock formations to release trapped oil and gas. A deposit known as the Monterey Shale may hold 15.4 billion barrels of oil, according to federal estimates, two-thirds of the nation’s shale-oil reserves. California is already the fourth-largest oil-producing state.
Opponents say the chemicals used in fracking pose health and environmental risks. The oil industry, through the Western States Petroleum Association, says hydraulic fracturing has been used safely for more than 60 years.
The Conservation Department, which regulates the oil industry, has been collecting responses to a draft of its plan since December. The meeting in Monterey was the last scheduled to review proposed rules for storing and handling fracking fluids, well monitoring after fracking and preventing water contamination.
The agency is considering its own alternative toFracFocus.org, a voluntary chemical disclosure registry used by the industry, Nechodom said. Oil companies decide what is disclosed in the registry and what is withheld as trade secrets.
“We’re going to end up in a lot of discussion about how is it that we can resolve this tension between the amount of time it takes to develop our own version of a public disclosure database versus using something that’s immediately available,”Nechodom said.
Once the agency formalizes its plans, it will have a year to make them final, Nechodom said
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.