MDN In-depth: A Close Look at the New Democrat Report on Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals

On April 16, three Democrat Congressional members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Henry Waxman, Edward Markey and Diana DeGette released a report on the chemical contents of hydraulic fracturing products used by the 14 oil and gas service companies. MDN has had a look at that report and finds it confusing, obfuscating and frankly, nothing more than yet another political attempt to bring gas drilling under the oversight of the federal EPA. That is the sole purpose of this report. Let’s dive deeper.

Staffers working for Waxman et al canvassed drilling companies, using the power of the federal government to obtain details on what products and chemicals they use during the process of hydraulic fracturing when drilling for oil or gas. As MDN has described before (but will do so again for those new to the drilling issue), when a company drills first vertically, and then horizontally, it uses a fair amount of water and sand—perhaps 3-4 million gallons of water on average for a single well. Along with the water and sand, which is literally 99.5 percent of what goes down the bore hole, a little bit of chemical mixture is used mostly to lubricate and to prevent bacterial buildup during the drilling process.

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