EPA: Fracking Chemicals Shouldn't Be Secret!

Ray Kemble outside US EPA

Ray Kemble stands in front of the EPA holding contaminated water from Dimock, PA.

Fracking is an extreme method of extracting oil and natural gas by pumping toxic chemicals underground. Despite the serious risks involved in the process, fracking companies are exempt from key environmental protections.

There's no amount of transparency that will make fracking safe, but disclosure of the chemicals used in the process will give communities more power to fight back.

The Environmental Protection Agency is accepting public comments on whether or not to require fracking companies to disclose the toxic chemicals they use. Add your name to the comment below to demand that fracking chemicals be exposed.


Learn more about fracking

Fracking and other unconventional methods of extracting oil and natural gas come with intensive drilling and mining, massive amounts of toxic waste, air pollution and pervasive infrastructure that threatens our essential food and water resources.

To frack a well, operators mix millions of gallons of water with tens of thousands of gallons of chemicals, including some known to cause cancer, and then pump it all into the earth at extreme pressure to try to break up rock formations so oil and natural gas might flow.

Drilling and fracking:

  • require millions of gallons of water for each well, competing with farmers for local water supplies.
  • produce massive amounts of toxic and even radioactive waste with no good disposal options.
  • contaminate sources of drinking water as a result of disposal problems and the thousands of leaks and spills every year.
  • can lead houses and water wells to explode, due to contamination from methane and other harmful gases.
  • bring untold costs to local communities, from declines in agriculture, real estate and tourism to road damage, public health problems and increased demand for social services.
You can find more information in our reports and fact sheets on our site: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/

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Require Disclosure of Fracking Chemicals - Docket #: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-1019

Dear Administrator McCarthy, 

I urge the EPA to require the strongest possible standards for disclosing the chemicals used in fracking. Disclosure will not make fracking safe, but it will make the risks more clear.

The oil and gas industry is exempt from key statutes in the landmark environmental laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The loopholes leave the public in the dark about the toxic chemicals used in this dangerous process, many of which are known carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. At the very least, the public should have complete information about the chemicals that oil and gas companies inject underground during fracking.

I urge the EPA to implement the strongest possible rules for disclosing the chemicals used in fracking, without any provisions for "trade secret" exemptions. Ultimately, however, fracking is inherently unsafe, and no regulations can avoid the significant risks to aquifers, including from flawed and leaky wells. A ban on fracking is the only way to ensure the health and safety of our communities.

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