Two weeks after a blowout at a hydraulic fracturing site in Pennsylvania spilled chemicals into nearby waterways and farmlands, Chesapeake Energy Corp. has still refused to disclose exactly what chemicals were used at that frack site.
In his report, Soraghan quotes Mike Paque, the executive director of the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) saying, “You'd have to treat [the well] like one that was completed." But that isn’t how Chesapeake Energy sees it. According to reports, Chesapeake is resisting disclosing what was spilled in April on FracFocus.org because the frack job resulted in a spill, the process wasn’t completed. “Information is uploaded on the site when well completion reports are filed with the state," said Jim Gibson from Chesapeake. “Completion” is a gas industry term for when drilling is done and the process of extracting of the gas can begin.
While the information about the chemicals remains a mystery to those in Pennsylvania, in other states with more rigorous regulations, the information would be out. For instance, in Wyoming, which passed disclosure rules last fall, the contents of the Pennsylvania spill would be out for public review.
The Keystone State has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks for its regulatory process when it comes to fracking. During a public hearing last week in Harrisburg, hundreds of Pennsylvania landowners were frustrated by the state’s inability to accommodate the large numbers of concerned citizens. Compounding their frustrations were not only the fracking spill in late April, but also a report by Clean Water Action that several of the members of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission were the heads of companies that made donations to Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign in 2011.
As for FracFocus, the Chesapeake incident is being dubbed the first real test for the voluntary disclosure system. FracFocus is administered by GWPC along with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. The online registry is also partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.