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Chemical Makers, Energy Companies Tell EPA Not to Mandate Fracking Fluid Disclosure

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Chemical makers and energy companies have told the Environmental Protection Agency there is no need for it to require them to report information about the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing fluids.

"The American Petroleum Institute does not think that this Toxic Substances Control Act rulemaking is necessary in light of the extensive information already available to EPA and the public, and the scope and purpose of TSCA," API said in comments submitted to the agency Sept. 18.

State agencies and water authorities voiced a range of views on that question. Public health laboratories and environmental advocates told the EPA mandating disclosure will help protect the public and environment.

The EPA has not proposed a regulation. In a May 19 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), the agency asked interested parties to comment on whether a program to obtain information on chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing should be voluntary or mandatory and what its appropriate scope should be.

The comment period has closed, and as of Sept. 25 the agency had posted more than 100,000 comments, with tens of thousands generated through email and other campaigns.

The high level of interest, rare for a TSCA regulation, illustrates the support for and concern about the vast energy reserves that can be accessed through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Natural gas from previously untapped shale deposits has sparked a renaissance in chemical manufacturing that could help improve the U.S. trade deficit, according to the American Chemistry Council. Chemical companies from around the world are launching new U.S. manufacturing ventures valued at $71.7 billion, the ACC said in a May 2013 report, "Shale Gas, Competitiveness, and New US Chemical Industry Investment."