Author: Karen L. Tucci
A new Pennsylvania law, an amendment to Title 52 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, requires that companies provide to a state-maintained registry the names of chemicals and gases used in fracking. It also forbids physicians, and other health care providers, from obtaining information on potentially harmful chemicals used in fracking, if that information is claimed to be a trade secret or confidential proprietary information of the company, unless the physician enters into a confidentiality agreement.
Fracking is the method of forcing water, gases, and chemicals at tremendous pressure of up to 15,000 pounds per square inch into a rock formation as much as 10,000 feet below the earth’s surface to open channels and force out natural gas and fossil fuels. The Marcellus Shale extends beneath the Allegheny Plateau, through Southern New York, much of Pennsylvania, east Ohio, West Virginia, and parts of Maryland and Virginia. It is one of the nation’s largest sources of natural gas mining. Pennsylvania has about 5,255 wells, as of the beginning of March 2012, with dozens being added each week. Over the expected life time of each well, companies may use as many as nine million gallons of water and 100,000 gallons of radioactive isotopes within a four to six week period. About 650 of the 750 chemicals used in fracking operations are known carcinogens.
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