Effective February 1, 2012, the Texas Railroad Commission implemented a new rule that will require operators and service and supply companies who disclose the chemical contents of fracking fluids. This rule implements a statute passed in the 2011 legislative session. The rule requires disclosure of the nature and content of additives and chemical ingredients used in frac fluids, as well as the water volume used in each frac.
Now, citizens living the area of a a well that has been subject to hydraulic fracking will have the opportunity to know the constituents of the frac fluid going into the wellbore. At the same time, the regulations protect operators and service and supply companies in several ways. First, there is a provision to protect confidential information defined in Texas law as a trade secret. The regulations prevent an operator or service or supply company from unreasonably or falsely claiming that the components of their frac fluids are trade secrets. Also, reporting entities are not responsible for errors made by persons not under their control, such as providers of cnemiicals to the operator or service company who are not themselves subject to reporting requirements. An added bonus for citizens and municipalities concerned about the water usage associated with fracking is the requirement that the volume of water used in each frac job be reported.
The regulations, and the legislation itself, was a result of cooperation between energy industry representatives and environmental organizations and are a good example of government regulations that go far enough to address a problem without going overboard with unecessary details and requirements.
For information on the contents of any particular fracing operation, anyone can go to the website appointed to publish the reports, FracFocus,