Feds to Drillers: Disclose Fracking Chemicals

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A subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Energy unveiled a series of recommendations today, including disclosure of all chemicals used for fracking, the controversial method of injecting high-pressured fluids into natural-gas wells to enchance gas flows.

Fracking is an integral part of new rules drafted by the Idaho Department of Lands following an exhaustive negotiating process that lasted through much of this summer. The rules are expected to be presented to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, chaired by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, next week.

A U.S. DOE advisory board subcommittee was tasked with making recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural-gas fracking. In addition to disclosure, recommendations included extensive testing, monitoring and disclosure of air pollution associated with gas development.

"Barring some small changes, these recommendations should be finalized and implemented as soon as possible," said Deborah Goldberg, an attorney for Earthjustice, who testified before the DOE. "The people downstream and downwind from the gas fields don't have any more time to waste."

In a BW investigation published Oct. 5, we examined a series of stumbles from Bridge Resources, the company that successfully drilled seven of 11 natural-gas wells in Payette County. Following the resignations of the company's top three executives, Bridge announced last week that it was selling its Idaho drilling operations.

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