Matt Smelser, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512.731.3023
(Austin, Texas – May 31, 2011) "Despite negative changes to House Bill 3328, it remains meaningful legislation for two reasons. First, industry and Republican office holders both agreed that disclosure must be mandatory. Second, industry and elected officials agreed that all frac chemicals that may be harmful to public health and the environment must be addressed -- not just those known by OSHA to be hazardous in the workplace.
These are important steps forward that will make Texas better off than it would be otherwise. Unfortunately, however, Environmental Defense Fund must oppose adoption of the Texas legislation by other states or by the federal government because the measure has serious limitations. It does not even provide a simple, statewide list of what chemicals are used by who and in what quantities. The Railroad Commission can enforce the bill only if it can prove a chemical was used intentionally for a particular purpose. And it may be the middle of 2013 before the bill takes full effect -- an absurdly long time for implementation.
Most oil and gas companies want the bill implemented more quickly and opposed the provision, reportedly supported by Devon Energy, Halliburton and Occidental Petroleum, that allows rules to be delayed until 2013. Bill sponsor Jim Keffer publicly accused Devon of "not negotiating in good faith." It is unfortunate that a few companies largely spoiled what could have been an opportunity for the whole industry to begin to restore public trust in its operations."