The drilling of Marcellus, Utica and other Shale natural gas reserves is growing massively, yet, to date, drillers have been allowed to keep secret the chemicals they use in the process (called fracking) that releases the gas, This process involves injecting millions of gallons of chemicals deep under ground.
The movie Gasland has shown how some people who live above or near where Fracking has been used, have discovered that their sink water is flammable, that a match can literally ignite water running from the tap. Others have shown that their water, which drillers and even complicit environmental state orgs say are safe, looks brown or grey and totally, appearance-wise, undrinkable.
So for the many activists who have been calling for regulating an industry protected by the "Cheney loophole" that has virtually no accountability for drillers, the news that Department of the Interior secretary Salazar may call for disclosure of the ingredients in Fracking chemicals is a good step.
Calling fracking a "hot and very difficult issue," Salazar commented at a public forum he held, " As the nation's largest land manager, the Department of the Interior has a responsibility to ensure that natural gas is developed in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner and protects the other valuable resources on those lands, including preventing harm to the air, water and species that call these lands home,"
Shale gas drillers have argued, like manufacturers of the dispersants used in the BP Gulf oil spill, that the ingredients are proprietary.
Activists opposing the drilling have called for disclosure of the chemicals because the drilling leaves millions of gallons of the fracking chemicals in the ground that can affect ground water and ultimately can leak into major potable drinking water tributaries, like the Delaware river as well as drilled water wells used by single families and communities.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Salazar stated, " We have not yet settled on how exactly we are going to move forward with respect to that issue."