The EPA releases an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for public comment on the types of information that should be reported about hydraulic fracturing materials – things like what chemicals are used and how much, as well as the circumstances. The agency also asks for suggestions on the options for reporting related health and safety studies. It wants to know whether and how trade secrets could be reported and then disclosed publicly without revealing the identities of individual products and their owners. Additionally, it invites comment on whether best management practices should be disclosed, whether third-party certification and collection should be required, and whether the agency should use incentives for disclosure, although the EPA hasn’t yet decided whether such disclosures should be mandatory, voluntary, or a combination of the two. All comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2014.
The EPA presents its evaluation of impacts to underground drinking water from hydraulic fracturing of coal bed methane reservoirs, including a literature survey and incidents of well contamination. The agency reports that it finds little or no threat to drinking water from fracking, although in some cases the use of diesel fuel has led to the direct contamination of ground water with toluene, benzene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Three companies, who do about 95% of the fracking in the United States, have voluntarily agreed to stop using diesel fuel, according to the EPA.