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Texas Fracking Regulations To Kick In

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New fracking regulations will be effective February 1 in Texas, forcing drilling operators in that state to report the chemicals used in the process, also known as hydraulic fracturing. According to a New York Times report, landowners and environmentalists in Texas are awaiting news on what “acids, hydroxides,” and other chemicals end up in fracking wells, and experts are anxious to hear about the mandatory disclosure concerning how much water is used to frack a well. This information, in particular, said The Times, is data experts say is invaluable when determining how fracking activities impact water supplies in Texas, known to be prone to drought. Chemical and water disclosure information will be available at fracfocus.org. Fracking, a process that involves the high-pressure injection of water, chemicals, and sand into shale formations to extract oil and gas, said NewsInferno, uses hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water. To date, there are no tests that show that the wastewater resulting from fracking—as fluid speeds back to the surface when the process is completing—can ever be treated and

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that all toxins are removed/ Justin Furnace, president of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners association, told The times that fracked wells generally utilize 1-to-5 million gallons of water in any given three-to-five day time frame. While one study prepared this year for the Texas Water Development Board suggested that less than one percent of the water used in Texas was used for fracking and industry said these numbers confirm that their usage is behind that of other cities, The Times noted that the data was not current and fracking activities have increased in areas around the state. Also water used in hydraulic fracking is “expected to increase significantly through 2020,” according to the just-published state water plan, said The Times. Meanwhile, Mark A. Engle, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey’s Eastern Energy Resources Science Center, told The Times that Texas should have improved data on what is in fracking water other than oil and gas and that the water can contain not only grease, but radioactive elements, as well. “Texas ranks pretty much dead last of any state I’ve worked with for keeping track of that sort of data,” Dr. Engle told The Times. Last year, a New York Times investigation found excessive and dangerous levels of radium and other radioactive and potentially cancer-causing materials was present in fracking waste water were being sent to municipal treatment facilities in Pennsylvania, a known fracking hub. Pennsylvania officials have prohibited frackers from sending waste water to sewage treatment plants in the state.

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