Bill on ‘fracking’ chemicals not likely till ’09

Legislation aimed at compelling energy companies to name the chemicals they use to fracture oil and gas wells will have to wait until next year, according to the office of Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Colo.

Kristofer Eisenla, spokesman for DeGette, said it is unlikely that the legislation will emerge during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, scheduled to start this week.

Eisenla said DeGette and her colleagues will focus on economic issues and leave other bills for the 2009 session of Congress.

“It’s definitely something we will expect to move ahead with in the 111th Congress,” he said.

DeGette, Congressman John Salazar, D-Colo., and Congressman Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., introduced legislation in September to allow the Environmental Protection Agency and the states to regulate how energy companies inject chemicals underground to improve the production of oil and gas wells.

The process, known as “fraccing,” uses chemicals to create cracks in the walls of drill holes to increase the amount of oil and natural gas a well can tap.

Eisenla said the legislation will help state and federal regulators ensure that no dangerous compounds are being injected into aquifers or other groundwater supplies.

The compounds energy companies use in the fraccing process are protected as proprietary information.

DeGette’s bill was assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she serves as vice chairwoman.


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