The American Oil and Gas Reporter - January 2012 - (Page 36)

EPA To Order Frac Chemical Disclosure AUSTIN, TX.–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ratcheted up its scrutiny of hydraulic fracturing by signaling its intent to require companies to disclose information regarding chemical substances and mixtures. The agency has announced it will propose rules requiring manufacturers and processors of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to keep records, and to submit those records and health and safety studies, utilizing the broad authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which focuses on the distribution and use of chemicals in commerce, rather than on pollution control. “This action is very significant,” says Jeff Civins, an Austin-based partner in Haynes and Boone’s environmental practice group. “Historically, oil and gas E&P activities have enjoyed a relatively unique status under environmental laws–exempted from many requirements, including those relating to pollution control.” However, he notes that during the Obama administration, there has been a big push for EPA to become actively involved in regulating E&P activities, especially those related to fracturing. EPA is studying the impacts of fracturing on drinking water sources. It has proposed standards regulating emissions from E&P operations, including fracturing, and has announced plans to set standards for discharging wastewater associated with shale gas operations. “This latest regulatory effort to use TSCA creates the potential to significantly burden the regulated community and to impede E&P activities,” assesses Civins. “The industry should be sure to get a seat at the table to ensure any regulations promulgated are both warranted and practical.” Petition For Rules Word of EPA’s initiative came in a letter made public on Nov. 23, from EPA Assistant Administrator Stephen A. Owens to Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice, a San Francisco-based environmental law organization, and posted on EPA’s website. Civins says EPA was responding to a petition filed in August by Earthjustice and 114 other organizations seeking broadbased regulation of chemicals used by the oil and gas industry, including but not limited to frac fluids. Earthjustice requested that the agency not only regulate E&P operations broadly, Civins says, but that it do so with relatively big guns in its regulatory arsenal, including testing requirements as well as maintaining and submitting records, and health and safety studies. Owens’ letter said EPA had decided to “partially grant” Earthjustice’s request. Civins, who has practiced all aspects of environmental law since 1975, says the EPA could have gone much further, but chose not to. “Earthjustice was asking the EPA to take on broad rule making over all substances used in exploration and production,” he explains. “Although declining to regulate E&P chemicals generally, however, EPA did agree to regulate those used in fracturing. The agency declined to issue a testing rule because the petition did not set forth sufficient facts to conclude a rule was necessary. The agency indicated it intended to grant the petition with regard to requirements relating to record keeping and reporting chemicals (applicable to manufacturers and processors), and relating to health and safety studies (applicable to distributors, manufacturers and processors). Yet, even this somewhat tempered response is of concern.” 36 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The American Oil and Gas Reporter - January 2012

The American Oil and Gas Reporter - January 2012
Oil & Gas Counts
State Legislative
Industry Digest
Tech Connections
Washington Watch
Federal Legislation
Gulf of Mexico
Resource Plays Providing Wealth of Opportunities
Tight Plays Poised to Transform U.S. Crude Supply
El Paso Project Optimizes Eagle Ford Completion Design
Real-Time Forward Modeling Improves Bakken Horizontals
Cover Story
Financial Firms Expand Oil and Gas Divisions
Multicomponent 3-D Poised for Growth in Shale Plays
Cloud Computing Driving Business Step Changes
Advanced Attributes Improve 3-D Interpretation
3-D Data Improve Knowledge of Shale Heterogeneity
HBUR RSS Solves Granite Wash Drilling Challenges
Technologies Improve Production Consistency in Resource Plays
SaaS Helps Operator Streamline Data Management
Automation Enhances Operations in Challenging Applications
Dispersant Chemistry Combats Plugging in Low-Gravity Oil Wells
New Technologies Optimize Production
Drilling Regs
The Presidential Papers
Energy Education
Shale Gas
New Lits & Products
Computer Currents
Industry Focus
Classified Advertising
Advertisers Index

The American Oil and Gas Reporter - January 2012