KUNM Local
5:09 pm
Mon May 2, 2011

NM Sen. Bingaman supports forced disclosure of natural gas fracturing chemicals

Washington, D.C. – New Mexico U-S Senator Jeff Bingaman says he supports forcing natural gas extraction companies to disclose the chemicals they use in their drilling processes. The Senate is considering proposals to require full public disclosure from all such companies.

Bingaman responded to questions Monday about a House committee report that indicates the fluids used in the process to fracture rock are hazardous. As KUNM reported last month, Senator Tom Udall questioned Environmental Protection Agency officials about reports that drilling companies inject diesel fuel into the ground to break up rock and extract gas. The Democrat Bingaman says the EPA currently has authority to require companies to provide information on the chemicals on a confidential basis.

"The real issue," Bingaman said, "is should we require that it be made public and available so that anyone who's got a question about the adequacy of the protections that are in place for their groundwater would be able to see what those chemicals were."

Bingaman said several drilling companies have already decided to make the information public, and are in the process of doing so. New Mexico is one of the top five natural gas producing states in the U.S.