Today, SkyTruth released a database on the chemicals used during the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” at oil and gas wells across the United States.
These data (which took a heckuva lot of work for us to compile) are being made freely available to the public for research and analysis. We’re doing this in the hope that this information will facilitate credible research on this nationally significant issue, and will promote discussion about effective public disclosure.
|Voluntary industry disclosures of the chemicals used in fracking operations nationwide are now available in the SkyTruth Fracking Chemical Database.|
We extracted the data from more than 27,000 “chemical disclosure reports” voluntarily submitted by industry to FracFocus, for gas and oil wells fracked between January 2011 and August 2012. The SkyTruth Fracking Chemical Database is the first free public resource enabling research and analysis of the chemicals used in fracking operations nationwide.
A few examples:
- Using this dataset we calculated the volume of water used for fracking across the United States, and compared that to the amount flowing over Niagara Falls and the area covered by Central Park.
- We looked at the ongoing, unpermitted use of diesel fuels in fracking, apparently in violation of the Safe Drinking Water act.
- Most recently, we examined disclosure rates in West Virginia and concluded that state and industry data were so incomplete that the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking ranged from only 0% to 31.6%.
“The intelligible disclosure of industry information and data through this SkyTruth action will make the task of research on the effects of fracking much easier,” said Dr. Tony Ingraffea, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. “This large and ever-expanding dataset is invaluable for cross-referencing with other datasets such as health and environmental quality.”
Those interested in this resource are encouraged to contact SkyTruth for more information on the data and to discuss research potential.
We would like to thank the Colcom Foundation, the WestWind Foundation and Patagonia for supporting this work.