Follow the leader- shale gas

  • With shale gas exploration expected to take off in the near future, concern has shifted to the environmental impacts this activity will have, in particular those associated with fracking. Used to free trapped gas, fracking requires injection of a mix of proprietary chemicals, sand and water.
  • A recent study released by the US EPA suggests that fracking fluids were responsible for contaminated groundwater in Wyoming. More interesting is the adoption of a fracturing fluid chemical disclosure policy by the State of Colorado which provides citizens access to a searchable chemical database and requires full disclosure of all chemicals used in fracking – hazardous or not.

Learning from the US, Government could consider proactive regulation that aims to limit the environmental impact of fracking. Examples may include development of industry  specific environmental risk assessments, scientific investigation of health impacts or simply a review of safety procedures in the fracking process.

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