Harvard takes issue with fracking disclosure

April 29, 2013 at 8:54 AM   |   Comments

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 29 (UPI) -- The disclosure of chemicals using FracFocus for hydraulic fracturing isn't considered an acceptable regulatory safeguard, the Harvard Law School says.

FracFocus serves as an Internet forum that lists chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas deposits.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to major gains in U.S. natural gas production. The practice is controversial because some chemicals used in the process, including carcinogens, may reach groundwater supplies.

A report published by Harvard Law School's environmental law program says voluntary disclosure via FracFocus is inadequate.

"In its current form, FracFocus is not an acceptable regulatory compliance method for chemical disclosures," the report states.

Harvard researchers said that FracFocus falls short in timely disclosure requirements, has few state-specific mandates and employs inconsistent measures regarding trade secrets, used to protect proprietary fracking fluid ingredients.

Harvard said that inaccurate, or incomplete, disclosure of fracking components serves "no public purpose."

FracFocus defended its track record against the Harvard University findings.

"We believe the research done by the Harvard team fails to reflect the true capabilities of the FracFocus system and misrepresents the systems relationship to state regulatory programs," it said.

FracFocus said state regulators weren't contacted by the Harvard research team.

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