In what could be called a victory for victims of the controversial practice of fracking, Texas could be the first state in the Union to require natural gas drillers to make disclosures on chemicals used in the process.
Interestingly enough, the bill is supported by both environmentalists and by industry representatives. Eastland Representative Jim Keffer introduced the bill after he was approached by both environmentalists and industry reps asking him to do so. Both want the truth to be told about how the process is done and exactly what chemicals are pumped deep underground.
Keffer said, "Almost every day, there's an article about fracking and the evils therein. The industry felt it was time to handle this." What a bold move for an industry that is generally reviled by folks who live within close proximity of fracking sites, not to mention environmentalists. Prior to this, drilling companies were reluctant to give any information about the chemicals they used in the violent underground blasts because they feared giving up trade secrets. However, the increased resistance in highly populated areas seems to be making the industry think twice about protecting those secrets.
As they should. As Keffer states, "People have a right to know what is going down into their land."
This is good news for North Texans, who have been extremely critical of the practice in recent months. The fact that fracking breaks up underground shale rock while pumping what could be a toxic mixture of water and chemicals is enough to make anyone wonder what's being introduced into the environment. Not to mention that some residents who live near drilling sites have reported flammable tap water.
When the toxic mixture returns to the surface, it is often dumped into artificial ponds, where it leaches into the soil. Of course, this toxic waste gets into the water supply, the food supply and overall, just basically creates an environment that can eventually kill you. While it's good the industry is willing to start reporting on chemicals it uses, but that isn't enough. Natural gas drillers need to find a better, less environmentally destructive way, to harvest that gas.