On Sept. 9, just four days before EPA's final set of public hearings on hydraulic fracturing in Binghamton, NY, the Agency issued voluntary information requests to nine natural gas service companies regarding the process. The data, says EPA, is integral to the scientific study now underway - the study which Congress in 2009 directed to determine whether hydraulic fracturing has an "impact on drinking water and the public health of Americans living in the vicinity of hydraulic fracturing wells".
EPA sent letters to BJ Services, Complete Production Services, Halliburton, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI, RPC, Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services, and Weatherford asking for each company to detail the the chemical composition of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The letters also requests data on the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at their hydraulic fracturing sites and the locations of sites where fracturing has been conducted.
"Natural gas is an important part of our nation’s energy future, and it’s critical that the extraction of this valuable natural resource does not come at the expense of safe water and healthy communities," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told the press. "By sharing information about the chemicals and methods they are using, these companies will help us make a thorough and efficient review of hydraulic fracturing and determine the best path forward."
While EPA requested that the information be provided on a voluntary basis, they gave the companies 30 days to provide the data - and gave them a deadline of seven days to inform the agency of whether they will provide all of the information sought. The data being sought by the agency is similar to information that has already been provided separately to Congress by the industry, notes the EPA. Therefore, the Agency expects the nine companies to cooperate with these voluntary requests. If not, a spokesman says, the EPA is "prepared to use its authorities to require the information needed to carry out its study".
You can read the EPA's letter to the gas companies here.