Reveal all additives

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Modernize fracking rules with tracers

By John Bartlit

Innovation is the pride and lifeblood of our democracy. Innovation in business systems and industries’ products is vital and thriving. Unending resources go into more innovations, think R&D.
Innovation in regulatory tools is as vital, but lags far behind. Why does filling a crucial need attract scant interest and effort? Custom perhaps. Blind spots?
Our interest group took a timely occasion to campaign for regulatory innovation.    
On Nov. 17, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) held a hearing on a narrow issue related to fracking.
“Fracking” means hydrofracturing of deep rock formations to extract more gas and oil from them. The question of the day’s hearing was to what extent do companies have to reveal all the contents of the fracking fluids they inject into formations.
Companies do not want to list the special additives in their fracking fluids. The very names are eerily chemical, such as ethylene glycol; naphthalene; 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene; formaldehyde and dozens more.
For a mix of reasons, companies use the term “trade secret” to withhold the full list of additives and their proportions. The concealed facts heighten public fears.
We and other groups at the hearing supported full disclosure of fracking fluids.

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