A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy calls into question some of the conclusions reached by Harvard Law School researchers regarding the utility of FracFocus.org as a regulatory tool.
Advances in the long-standing technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased access to oil and gas that was previously uneconomical to produce. The significant increase in drilling in some areas across the country prompted many oil and gas states to adopt additional regulations aimed at the oil and gas industry. Many states have included in their regulations the use of FracFocus.org, a website dedicated to providing the public with information on a well-by-well basis regarding the chemical additives used in the hydraulic fracturing process.
In 2013, researchers at Harvard Law School issued a report concluding that FracFocus “fails as a regulatory compliance tool” but Harvard had failed to collect significant data needed to reach that conclusion, namely, information on how state regulators were using FracFocus to support their regulatory programs and the opinion of those state regulators. The new study indicates that states are very positive about FracFocus and are using it in novel and robust ways to support their regulatory programs. The study will be available here until December 5, 2015.