A Department of Energy advisory board subcommittee on natural gas issued a follow-up report of its findings today. The subcommittee was tasked with making recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing in shale formations. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process in which drillers blast millions of gallons of chemically-treated water into the earth to extract the gas from underground deposits.
Among the recommendations included in an initial report issued in August were disclosure of all chemicals used for fracking at each well; using a life-cycle approach to managing and tracking water and wastewater; extensive testing, monitoring, and disclosure of air pollution associated with gas development; and further study of the climate change impacts posed by emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.
In this follow-up report, the subcommittee clearly spells out how state and federal regulators should implement these recommendations.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg, who testified before the DOE subcommittee in June:
“The way the gas industry has been doing business leaves the water we drink and the air we breathe at risk for dangerous pollution. In its first report, the subcommittee showed just how wide the gap is between the protections that are needed and the protections that we have now. Today, the subcommittee has taken the next step, identifying where state and federal regulators can close that gap and protect public health. Barring some small changes, these recommendations should be finalized and implemented as soon as possible. The people downstream and downwind from the gasfields don’t have any more time to waste.”