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Common Dreams

Fracking Database: New Weapon Against 'Sinister Secrecy' of Industry

SkyTruth reveals new tool for research and analysis of fracking chemicals

by
Common Dreams staff

SkyTruth's new database provides important analysis of fracking chemical data. (Image by FracFocus)

Environmental protection group, SkyTruth, revealed a new database of chemicals used during the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at oil and gas wells across the United States.

Released Wednesday, the SkyTruth Fracking Chemical Open Database was generated from more than 27,000 chemical disclosure reports which were submitted by industry to independent registry, FracFocus, for gas and oil wells fracked between January 2011 and August 2012.

Though a number of states including Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania do require chemical disclosure through FracFocus, that system does not allow data aggregation, analysis or sharing. SkyTruth hopes that—by making this information freely available to the public—their database will provide a more comprehensive tool for oversight and transparancy as the Bureau of Land Management finalizes new rules for fracking that will apply to millions of acres of public land.

Some of the findings of their analysis include examination of disclosure rates in West Virginia, concluding that state and industry data were so incomplete that the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking ranged from only 0% to 31.6%. Similarly, they were able to track "ongoing, unpermitted use of diesel fuels in fracking," clearly in violation of the Safe Drinking Water act.

“SkyTruth unveils the toxic truths of a toxic industry,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance. “In the hands of community activists, SkyTruth’s database is a sharp, steely weapon to puncture the armor of sinister secrecy that protects America’s fracking cabal.”

“The intelligible disclosure of industry information and data through this SkyTruth action will make the task of research on the effects of fracking much easier,” said Tony Ingraffea, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. “This large and ever-expanding dataset is invaluable for cross-referencing with other datasets such as health and environmental quality. ”

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