One of the companies drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation is publicly listing the chemicals it injects into the ground at well sites.
Environmental advocates are applauding the move.
Beginning this week, Range Resources will disclose the chemicals it mixes into the water it blasts into the ground to extract natural gas from shale rocks.
A draft report written by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection last month claimed companies are using toxins that cause cancer and neurological diseases, but the department has since backed away from that claim.
Range Resources Vice President Ray Walker says the company is making the information public in order to calm fears.
"They are pumped in a highly diluted form. And the chemicals that we actually put in the frack fluid that’s pumped down the hole are very comparable to household items. And you’ll see that also in these reports. Comparisons to things you and I would understand."
Jan Jarrett, the president and CEO of PennFuture, says she’s still concerned by the chemicals Range Resources and other drillers are injecting into the ground, but she the company’s announcement as a step in the right direction.
"I think it’s especially useful for local emergency responders. To know exactly what they may be dealing with, should something go wrong that requires them to show up at the site and take care of some sort of accident or fire or other kinds of emergency at the site. That’s very critical information for them to have."
Jarrett is urging other drillers to follow Range’s lead and disclose what chemicals they’re using, and if they don't, the state should consider making the listing mandatory.