Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Pennsylvania Considering Disclosure Law

Inspired by pioneering legislation in Texas, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require Marcellus Shale operators to disclose all the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) operations.

Although the specific language is not yet available, state Sen. Michael Stack, a Democrat from the Philadelphia area, told fellow lawmakers that his proposal would require "full disclosure" of all hydrofracking chemicals. The bill would also create an Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board to review the chemicals and a website for public review.

And while it would add "stricter enforcement and harsher penalties" to existing law, the legislation would also include a provision to "allow special requests for confidentiality of trade secrets between companies under special circumstances."

Pennsylvania already requires operators to report hydrofracking chemicals by percent volume (see Shale Daily, April 1).

The Texas law requires disclosure on a well-by-well basis on the existing Frac Focus Chemical Disclosure Registry website and aims to be a model for other states to follow. Arkansas, Wyoming and Michigan already require some form of disclosure, while Montana is considering whether to implement disclosure rules (see Shale Daily, June 21; June 1).

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is currently on summer recess until September, but several legislative issues await their return. In addition to ongoing attempts to impose a severance tax or impact fee on shale development, state lawmakers have announced plans for a bill that would add wastewater from hydrofracking operations to the list of "hazardous materials" regulated for transport, and another that would index natural gas leases by property address.

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