Kansas state regulators have proposed a set of rules requiring oil and natural gas drilling companies to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). A public hearing by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) will he held Aug. 15 to review the draft rules as part of a 60-day public comment period now under way.
A state law passed last year (HB2526) gave the KCC authorization to oversee fracking (see Shale Daily, March 12, 2012).
KCC's draft rules identify fracking treatments needing to be disclosed and the method to report them to the regulatory commission. They also provide a provision for protecting trade secret information, and offer alternate disclosure through the industry fracking website, FracFocus (www.fracfocus.org).
For trade secrets, the proposed Kansas rules would establish a procedure in which the KCC's conservation division director could obtain information that operators requested to be kept as trade secrets, and would only disclose it in the case of emergency situations.
"The proposed regulation also provides a mechanism for health professionals to access information claimed to be a trade secret in order to treat a specific individual," a KCC spokesperson said. The proposed provision also would outline steps to be taken to keep the trade secrets confidential after they have been subjected to limited disclosure for emergency or health care reasons.
Kansas regulators also have provided an economic impact assessment declaring that the proposed rules would have a "minimal" impact on either the KCC or industry. "Based on the volumetric limitations created by the regulation, very few members of the industry will be required to change their current business practices," the KCC economic impact statement said.
Regulators said most operators required to disclose fracking chemical treatment information under the proposed new regulation already voluntarily disclose the information on the FracFocus website. They estimate that "only a small contingent of operators" does not currently report this information.
Copies of the proposed regulations and economic impact statement are available on KCC website, and comments can be filed with the KCC prior to the August hearing in writing or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).