A stakeholders' group set up to advise the Mining and Energy Commission on fracking regulations will hold its first public meeting Tuesday in Raleigh. On the agenda: disclosure requirements for fracking fluids.
Fracking operators routinely add chemicals into the water and sand mix they inject underground to break up shale rock formations and release the natural gas trapped there.
Many states ask fracking operators to voluntarily disclose the chemicals they use. Some operators comply. But others in the industry say their formulas are trade secret and should be allowed to remain confidential.
Environmental and health activists say the public has a right to know - and the state has a duty to protect its citizens.
"I think that’s a more important consideration than protecting corporate trade secrets rights," said Kristin Thornburg with the NC Sierra Club. "We’re talking about compounds and chemicals that could be very dangerous – very dangerous to public health and to the environment.."
Probes of suspected contamination in other states have been hampered by the fact that investigators weren't even sure what chemicals to look for, she said.
"It’s important for emergency responders, it’s important for medical professionals — but it’s also important for people who are living in these communities that have wells, that have drinking water, and that have air that they’re breathing," Thornburg said. "They need to know what’s going in there."
The stakeholder group includes representatives from the energy industry, environmentalists, scientists, landowners, and local governments. No public comment will be allowed at the meeting, scheduled for 1pm Tuesday in the Archdale Building in Raleigh.