Reuters reports here that a company in Pennsylvania

spilled about 8,000 gallons of LGC-35, a lubricant, in the rural community of Dimock, Susquehanna County, on Sept. 16 and 22. Natural gas drillers use the chemical in a technique called hydraulic fracturing to obtain gas trapped in rock formations.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection fined Cabot $56,650 and ordered the company to stop fracturing until it cleaned the spills and submitted an updated pollution control plan.

The industry has declined to specify the chemicals it uses in fracking fluids, saying the information is proprietary.

Let’s see.  They can inject this stuff into the subsurface where it can migrate below land that they do not own, potentially contaminating groundwater, and spilling it on the surface where it may well contaminate surface water, yet they don’t have to tell what it is they are actually using?  How can their attorneys, who have to have filed such claims of confidentiality, sleep at night?

And, note also that, as we have shown at Environment Memo, if such chemicals are involved in NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permits (that is wastewater discharges), then the exact chemical names and concentrations in the discharges cannot be kept confidential.  Unfortunately, this fact is not widely known, but we are beginning to see that people understand it can be necessary to bring this fact to the attention of a state’s environmental control authorities.  We shall see how this pans out in New York State soon.


ADVERTISEMENT