Fracking is the process of pumping chemical-laced water at high pressure into impermeable shale formations, breaking down the rock and letting drillers extract hard-to-reach oil and natural gas. Environmentalists fear those chemicals could taint groundwater.
Jason Hutt, a partner in the Washington office of Houston law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, says the new law should help address those concerns.
“I think it’s an important step forward for the energy industry in developing state-level disclosure law that can address some of the concerns that have been articulated by the various communities in which hydraulic fracturing is taking place.”
Ken Kramer, Texas state director for the Sierra Club, sees the law as a positive development. But, he says, much will depend on the rules the Texas Railroad Commission writes to implement it.
“We would, for example, want to make sure the trade secrets protection industry pushed in the passage of the bill is not considered so broadly that it really undercuts the effect of the law.”
The law takes effect in July 2012.