Fracking-liquid rule discussed

RIFLE — The state has yet to receive any requests from medical professionals for information on chemicals used in oil and gas development since new inventory and reporting requirements went into effect, a regulatory official said Thursday.

David Andrews, western Colorado engineering supervisor for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, discussed the new requirements in a presentation to the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board.

Operators must keep an inventory of chemical products used in a well or stored for use in a well for purposes such as hydraulic fracturing. If a product’s composition is considered a trade secret by a vendor or service provider, the company must provide the chemical components to the commission if needed in case of a spill or release.

The components also must be made available to health professionals if deemed necessary to help in diagnosis and treatment of someone who may have been exposed to them.

Proposed legislation would require similar reporting requirements for fracturing fluids at the federal level, partly in an effort to protect well water.

Rifle resident Sandy Sekeres told industry representatives Thursday she didn’t understand the opposition to the legislation, if the chemicals used won’t hurt people.

“I just don’t see that it has to be such a big secret,” she said.

Scot Donato of the Bill Barrett Corp. energy company said concerns about the minimal amounts of chemicals used in fracturing fluids don’t make sense, considering they are injected into formations filled with oil and gas hydrocarbons.

“The worst possible thing in there is those hydrocarbons. … If there was an issue you’d see the hydrocarbons first,” he said.

Andrews said the state requires using cement to seal around wells to below the depth of shallow drinking water aquifers to prevent their contamination.

Advocates for the requirement cited a case last year in which a gas field worker who was exposed to fracturing fluids with unidentified chemicals was treated by a Durango nurse who then became ill.


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