Elizabeth Ames Jones, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), the energy regulatory body for the U.S.’s largest oil and natural gas producing state, has begun the process to craft rules to mandate disclosure of certain chemicals in the solutions used in the hydraulic fracturing process commonly used in drilling natural gas and oil wells.
Chairman Jones said, “A common sense frac fluid disclosure policy will balance the Railroad Commission’s dual mission to prevent the waste of Texas’s energy resources, and to protect the environment and the public’s health and safety. The policy will be built on the sound foundation that the Railroad Commission has already laid through our staff’s active leadership in the crafting of Frac Focus, a disclosure website.
“I expect any rule to formalize best practices while protecting proprietary information. As more foreign companies are investing in businesses that drill here in Texas, and more wells are produced using hydraulic fracturing, it is important that our public disclosure rule does not undermine a frac company’s intellectual property and trade secrets,” said Jones.
“I appreciate the legislature’s recent passage of HB 3328, and our rulemaking will instill confidence and allay concerns regarding the safety of hydraulic fracturing for handlers above ground. Hydraulic fracturing has been going on for over 60 years. Our actions should not be misconstrued to upend my earlier statements that it is geologically impossible for fracturing fluid or natural gas or oil to migrate upward through thousands of feet of rock, sometimes miles, to adversely affect ground water. In fact, I am committed to encouraging the development and use of technologies, across the board, like multi-stage hydraulic fracturing, that will allow for an ever shrinking drilling footprint and enhanced recovery of energy. That is simply good for Texas and good for America,” added Jones.
On June 2, Jones advised the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board’s Natural Gas Subcommittee at the U.S. Department of Energy Headquarters on the state’s successful oversight role of hydraulic fracturing.
Jones recently testified with other experts and the Environmental Protection Agency before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s hearing regarding hydraulic fracturing. The archived hearing, including Jones’ testimony, is available on the Committee website.