Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told oil and gas companies on Tuesday to expect heavier regulations on fracking fluid in the state by the end of the year. Speaking at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association conference, Hickenlooper said disclosing the contents of the fluid would bolster public trust in the industry, reports the Denver Post.
Fracking fluid is used to displace oil and gas from formations deep underground. Critics contend the fluid contains carcinogens which pollute groundwater. Industry officials, meanwhile, insist the practice is safe but are unwilling to divulge the components of their fluids.
Hickenlooper, a former geologist, acknowledged the need to protect trade secrets, but also made the point that, "the most valuable recipe in the world is for Coca Cola and they put it on the bottle."
Colorado passed regulations in 2008 requiring companies maintain a list of chemicals used in their drilling processes. The list must be presented to healthcare workers and state regulators if requested after a workplace incident.
Companies may voluntarily present the composition of their fluids at FracFocus, a website created with the aim of providing "the public with objective information on hydraulic fracturing, the chemicals used, the purposes they serve and the means by which the groundwater is protected." The site is sponsored by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Colorado's regulations may make participation on the site mandatory.
The HuffPost reported on leaked EPA documents in February which indicated high levels of radioactivity in fracking byproducts. These carcinogens then entered water supplies via sewage treatment plants ill-equipped to remove the chemicals.
WATCH a musical video on fracking and the potential for groundwater contamination:
WATCH a New York Times piece on Colorado's natural gas development: