Petition asks EPA to regulate fracking chemicals

In a petition filed on behalf of 114 state and national groups, the environmental law firm EarthJustice is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require natural gas drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use.

Bloomberg reports that the groups also want EPA to require toxicity testing for the chemicals used in fracking.

The EPA is studying the effects of fracking on drinking water amid questions about the safety of the technique, in which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are forced into rock to free trapped gas and oil. Results of the U.S. study aren’t expected until 2014, according to the agency. New York state may lift a ban on fracking later this year.

“Thousands and thousands of wells are being drilled each year using these chemicals,” [EarthJustice attorney Megan Klein] said yesterday. “We want the public to fully understand the risk of these chemicals being injected near their homes, schools and hospitals.”

By 2035, 46 percent of U.S. gas will come from shale, up from 14 percent in 2009, according to estimates of reserves by the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration.

Major manufacturers of fracking chemicals include Schlumberger and Halliburton, which have resisted EPA requests for information on fracking chemicals.

Without information about the chemicals used in fracking it is difficult to establish whether the practice is damaging groundwater.

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