EPA Drills into Fracking Fluid Mystery

The liquid that drillers inject into shale formations to fracture them and release trapped gas has been a mystery. Blamed for contaminating ground water and therefore drinking water sources, the fluid has achieved an almost alchemical status for anti-fracking activists and oil and gas companies alike, in the absence of detailed information about their formulas. While the basic chemicals in fracking fluids are known, specific mixtures are often classified as proprietary business information and therefore pronounced “confidential.” Now, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving toward regulations that would give transparency by requiring reports on the chemicals contained in fracking fluid. Since it’s well known that some chemicals being used could cause negative health and/or environmental effects, it’s time for a clear look into these murky waters.

John Howell, Editorial Director