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Earth United States

Fracking Disclosure Rules Approved In CO 279

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the quench-your-thirst dept.
ExE122 writes "Colorado has approved new measures taking a tough stance on the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. The new law is 'requiring companies to disclose the concentrations of chemicals in addition to the chemicals themselves.' Fracking is a controversial method of natural gas extraction that raises concerns about health and safety issues to surrounding communities. This measure is said to be tougher than similar measures passed in Texas earlier this year."
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Fracking Disclosure Rules Approved In CO

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  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harrkev (623093) <> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:18AM (#38370030) Homepage

    I live in Colorado (although not near any drilling sites), and I approve of this. Public safety > trade secrets.

  • Progress! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gm a i l .com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:25AM (#38370096) Journal

    "In 2011 Colorado passed a law forcing drilling companies to disclose what just what the hell they were pumping into the ground in massive quantities."


  • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:36AM (#38370248)

    Yes, but will it be enough, and soon enough to protect the water supply?

    Soon enough? Fracturing has been done in the United States since 1947.


  • Re:Secret Sauce (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:44AM (#38370374) Journal
    Frankly, imposing almost-certainly-negative externalities on unconsenting bystanders' persons and property during the course of your business makes you the ethical equivalent of a serial mugger. It is a pity that it doesn't make you the legal equivalent of one.

    That's what I've never understood about the notion that these sorts of environmental regulations are 'anti-freedom' or 'anti-free-market'... Effectively, emitting pollutants that leave your property(as they almost always have a nasty tendency to do...) is some combination of assault and destruction of property, depending on exactly how much damage to other people's health and damage to other people's property you cause. That would seem to bring you trivially under the police power of the state to protect its citizens from violence against them by others.

    Failure to protect the people from pollution involuntarily forced on them seems different only in degree from failing to prosecute poisoners or fly-tippers. Also arguably, environmental regulations that allow some harmful levels of pollution are actually more statist; because they assert the state's right to submit everyone to damage to the benefit of specific parties(almost exactly the same thing as the almost universally reviled Kelo v. City of New London decision: The state asserting its right to involuntarily transfer part of the property of everybody to the polluter for 'economic development' purposes). The only real areas of economic regulation that would seem to be purely 'environmentalist' in motivation, as opposed to a downright libertarian exercise of the state's right and duty to protect its citizens from violence, force, and fraud, would be those that govern pollution affecting only the polluter and those who have given informed consent to the pollution(employees accepting high risk for higher pay, say, with knowledge of that risk) and those that protect species and wetlands and things in themselves even when they are fully encompassed within a single chunk of property.

    Politically, it isn't exactly a surprise that "libertarian" and "environmentalist" usually don't get along all that well; but ideologically, I've always been fascinated by how immediate, direct, property crimes for profit have no friends at all, and we can't seem to hang the perps high enough for anybody's satisfaction; but covert, indirect, property crimes for profit are eminently respectable, and have friends in all the most desirable places... (As for the case of the 'secret sauce' product, it seems like it would depend on exactly why the sauce is secret: if, as is common at the experimental edges of medicine, nobody knows exactly what the sauce will do, it would seem to be the right of a competent adult to take risk upon themselves. If the sauce is secret because I'm just not telling you what it is, it becomes much harder to argue that we have actually achieved a genuine consent in the contractual sense, since I'm deliberately keeping you in a state shy of 'informed consent' for my own convenience.)
  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:49AM (#38370452)
    Yeah sure, that's why you posted anonymously with a talking points bullet list.
  • by minstrelmike (1602771) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:54AM (#38370506)
    Just because it isn't new doesn't mean it can't be dangerous. sheesh.
    Vehicles didn't cause air pollution in Los Angeles until there were a million of them.
    Infecting the Ogallala reservoir with 10ccs of anything except plutonium isn't going to poison that many people. But dumping in ten million gallos of almost anything will affect the water.
    It isn't the use of any resource that causes issues; it is only the overuse (by definition).
  • by skids (119237) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:59AM (#38370574) Homepage

    Seriously - what are the chances of these chemicals migrating upward through a couple miles of solid rock

    Well, that would be kind of hard to independently assess without actually knowing what chemicals to test the water for, which is kind of the point of the law under discussion.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flyingsquid (813711) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:29AM (#38370988)
    And this is why we need government, and why we need government regulation. In that bizarre fantasy world that the Libertarian true believers inhabit, we can let the free market take care of everything. The reality is that corporations will risk people's health, risk people's property, and risk people's lives in order to make a profit. We saw this with the Deepwater Horizon drill rig, where BP took shortcuts that killed workers, led to a disastrous oil spill, and shut down offshore oil exploration. We saw this in West Virginia, when a mine owner cut corners on safety, leading to an explosion that killed 29 people. We saw this with the paint industry, which continued to put toxic amounts of lead in paint long after this was known to be a major health risk. And we saw this with Wall Street, which gambled with billions of dollars of borrowed money, causing a financial panic that sent the economy into a recession.

    Government regulation can get out of hand. But if you just let corporations police themselves and expect the market to solve everything, then what you get is the situation in China: poison in baby formula, lead paint in children's toys, toxins in the toothpaste. Of course, if even a fraction of the health concerns raised about fracking are true, we may be closer to that situation than we'd like to think.

  • by gtall (79522) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:41AM (#38371144)

    Just to be fair, the ground water we use for drinking is generally at a might higher elevation than the level at which fracking occurs. However, any fissures in the rock between the two will cause contamination. And that is something the frackers can never protect against since they have no idea where those fissures occur.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitalaudiorock (1130835) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:53AM (#38371342)
    Exactly...though that hasn't stopped the likes of T. Boone Pickens from claiming that it's totally safe and has been going on for "60 years". Sometimes I think the gas industries long term plans must include selling drinking water, as it may eventually be worth more than oil/gas.
  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pope (17780) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @11:55AM (#38371390)

    Bullshit. In a Libertarian world, I could sue the fuckers for polluting the water table. Now they have license thanks to government regulation and are shielded from liability.

    You wouldn't have the cash to keep a lawsuit going against any company with money to burn. At this point it's a chicken/egg problem.

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalaudiorock (1130835) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:01PM (#38371492)

    Bullshit. In a Libertarian world, I could sue the fuckers for polluting the water table. Now they have license thanks to government regulation and are shielded from liability. about backwards logic: The halliburton loophole was NOT a regulation, but an exemption from an existing regulation. The existing regulation was good, and the halliburton loophole did away with it in this case...never mind the notion that the ability to sue is somehow better than preventing the pollution in the first place(??).

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:02PM (#38371508)

    Up until a week or so ago, you'd be right.

    However, the EPA has released a draft report of a study that says otherwise. []

    Expect most news sources to continue to spout "the debate over fracking is likely to continue" B.S. until there is high test coming out of your ice maker. We already saw this go down with global warming: The energy companies deny everything and make the problem as bad as they can until there is irrefutable proof that the problem exists.

    Once the studies are done and the problem is confirmed to exist, they continue to make it worse (to their profit) while arguing that there is no proof that the problem is caused by them.

    The next step, once there is evidence that they are at fault, is to say that cleaning up after themselves is impossible. This will take a third round of studies to prove that cleanup is possible.

    If the offending parties face any punishment, it will be a fine that is insignificant next to the profits they've made by pissing in the community pool.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adriax (746043) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:15PM (#38371746)

    And they could go to the court with 10000x the amount of lawyer time than you could afford.

    Do all libertarians actually believe there's a cosmically enforced good/evil balance, that the little guy actually can take down the big evil groups if not for the government holding them back, and that certain metals have a universally recognized value? Or is it just the ones I've encountered?

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tsingi (870990) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (kcir.maharg)> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @12:28PM (#38371978)

    The billions gambled in Wall Street were backed by the government. In fact, the government you praise bail them out. How many arrests were made in the recent Wall Street scandals?

    The government deregulated Wall Street, this is the problem. I don't think anyone is praising the way any of that was (is being) handled. None of that is going to change as long as Corporations can donate unlimited money anonymously to political campaigns.

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