Southern California environment news and trends

South Coast air officials may force disclosure of fracking operations

Hydraulic Fracturing

Calif. Dept. of Conservation

The South Coast Air Quality Management District may require oil and gas companies to disclose when they carry out fracking operations, and which chemicals they are using.

On Friday, regional air regulators will consider a new rule that would force oil and gas companies to disclose more information about the extraction process known as fracking.

The proposed rule would require oil and gas companies to notify air officials when fracking begins. They would also have to disclose which chemicals they’re using, and whether they’re toxic. (Formally known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking involves shooting a high-powered mix of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground to extract oil and natural gas.)

The rule proposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District would be the first in the state. It would apply to 275 sites in L-A and Orange Counties where oil and gas companies engage in fracking.

The goal is to gather data on whether fracking contributes to air pollution.

The oil and gas industries have argued that well operators shouldn’t have to hand over information about the chemicals they use, because it’s proprietary.

Even if the air board passes the new rule, some people in Baldwin Hills, Wilmington, and other communities near oil fields won’t be satisfied. They want even more limits on fracking. They’re concerned that, among other things, it also pollutes groundwater.

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