The real value of FracFocus as a regulatory tool: A national survey of state regulators (Englisch)

in Energy Policy ; 87 ; 496-504
Energy Policy
; 2015
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Over the last decade, domestic oil and gas production has increased dramatically because of advancements in the technologies associated with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. This boom generated a wave of new state laws and regulations, especially addressing disclosure of fracturing chemicals. In 2011 the chemical disclosure registry FracFocus.Org was launched to provide well-by-well chemical information to the public. Many states adopted FracFocus for chemical reporting. In 2013, Harvard Law School researchers issued a report concluding that FracFocus “fails as a regulatory compliance tool.” The report made serious criticisms regarding the utility of the registry; however, the report was incomplete because its authors never interviewed state regulators. This paper remedies that oversight. We surveyed regulators in twenty oil and gas producing states to determine how they view and are using FracFocus. The results contradict the most crucial claims of the Harvard report and indicate that states are quite positive about FracFocus and are using it in novel ways that go beyond the registry's original purpose. This paper represents the first comprehensive survey of state regulators and the first attempt to obtain a data-driven analysis of how FracFocus is being used and whether it is effective as a regulatory tool.

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