Oil and gas well operators that use hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Indiana must now report, among other things, the materials and the volume of chemicals used in the fracturing fluid. The mandates results from new legislation that went into effect on July 1.
Fracking is a technique that pushes water, chemicals and sand into the ground under high pressure to crack rock formations. In addition to oil and gas, it is also used to extract coal-bed methane.
Between 2005 and 2010, as many as 23 percent of the new oil and gas wells drilled in Indiana used hydraulic fracturing.
Herschel McDivitt, Director of the Oil and Gas Division at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, says the state requirements are in response to public concerns over potential effects of the fracking fluids on human health and environmental safety.
“With the new legislation, what Indiana has done is positioned itself to be able to gather this information, make it available to the public and stay abreast of any changes in the technology,” McDivitt says.
The DNR posts the information about the chemicals in an online database.
Hoosier Environmental Council Senior Policy Director Tim Maloney says the requirements will increase transparency.
“The disclosure will provide greater attention to the potential risks and ultimately lead to the use of less toxic and risky substances,” he says.
This Indiana law is stricter than federal requirements. There is nothing on the books nationally that mandates the reporting of chemicals using in hydraulic fracturing.