Joint Release: EARTHWORKS | ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP
Sacramento, Calif. — The California State Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by Environmental Working Group and Earthworks to require oil and natural gas drillers to make public a complete list of chemicals they use in oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ) operations. The fracking issue has raised alarms in communities nationwide because some chemicals injected into the earth to break up rock formations and free oil and gas are known human carcinogens such as benzene, xylene, toluene and diesel fuel.
The bill, known as AB 591 and authored by Assembly member Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), now goes to the California State Senate, where a committee that considers water quality issues is expected to hear it before the end of June.
The bill would require oil and gas companies to inform the state Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources what chemicals they injected, the source of water used, how much water was used, and whether any radiological components were injected and their fate. The state agency would be mandated to publish online the drillers’ chemical lists and locations of specific wells where the chemicals were used.
California is leading the way with a legislative roadmap for real reform in the way the the oil and gas industry must reveal what chemicals are used in fracking operations, said Bill Allayaud, Director of Government Affairs for EWG’s California office. This measure could become the first law in the country that won’t allow the natural gas industry to hide behind confidential business information claims as they do in other states like Wyoming and Texas. It would force companies to make public every chemical used in fracking operations in the state.