Shale drillers must make toxic chemicals list available
COLUMBUS (AP) — A list of toxic chemicals used by Ohio shale drillers must be made available locally to governments, first responders and residents under a new state directive.
Ohio officials notified companies that a federal chemical disclosure law trumps a 2001 state law requiring that the information only be filed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday. The state gave companies until Sept. 21 to begin complying with the federal law.
The guidance affecting the state’s burgeoning hydraulic fracturing industry follows an April letter in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made clear that Ohio’s chemical-reporting laws don’t supersede federal right-to-know requirements.
The letter came in response to a complaint by a coalition of environmental and community groups involving a January chemical emergency near St. Marys in Auglaize County.
The reporting change will benefit residents in areas of Ohio where fracking is abundant, said Teresa Mills, whose Center for Health, Environment and Justice spearheaded the complaint.
“They can go to their local emergency planning commission and ask for these records,” she told the newspaper.
The federal right-to-know law allows oil and gas companies to shield some chemicals from the inventories it releases as trade secrets. Among chemicals used in the process that may be listed are: ethylene glycol, which can damage kidneys; formaldehyde, a known cancer risk; and naphthalene, a possible carcinogen.