Why are the chemicals exempt from EPA regulation and unlabeled?

We’ve been asked on occasion whether the natural gas development — specifically hydraulic fracturing — earned an exemption from a series of federal laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, as part of the bipartisan 2005 energy bill. The short and factual answer is no.

In fact, the bipartisan 2005 energy bill, which simply clarified the scope of the Safe Drinking Water Act as it relates to fracturing (again, that states – not the federal government – regulate this technology) earned the support of 74 U.S. senators [including then-Sen. Barack Obama] and 275 members of the U.S. House. Hydraulic fracturing has never been regulated under this law. Fracturing, however, is tightly regulated by state environmental agencies.

Hydraulic fracturing fluids are made up of more than 99.5 percent water and sand. A small portion of these fluids are made up of common, every day additives, which are highly diluted. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requires natural gas producers to disclose the entire universe of these additives on a well-by-well basis. On its website, DEP provides detailed information: click here and here.

Additionally, all MSC member companies have been participating with FracFocus – disclosing fracturing additives online on a well-by-well basis – since the beginning of 2012, in an effort to enhance operational transparency, a core tenet of our Guiding Principles.