Wednesday, April 24, 2013

FracFocus Falls Short & PA DEP Must Provide An Alternative

Nothing has done more to alarm the public than the failure to provide years ago comprehensive disclosure of all materials used in fracking fluids.  The gas industry and many regulators have turned to FracFocus to solve this crisis of public confidence.

A Harvard Law School study now raises critical problems with FracFocus and notes Pennsylvania law requires the Department of Environmental Protection to fill the void created by FracFocus's inadequacies.

The Harvard Law Study at page 10 notes that Pennsylvania law requires the Department of Environmental Protection to investigate establishing an alternative to FracFocus, if its data base was not searchable by January 2013.  It was not.

Given the failures of FracFocus, the Pennsylvania Department of Education must go beyond investigating using the DEP website as an alternative.  It should establish an alternative at its website that would allow the public full access to information that is disclosed in the Commonwealth.  Full access means that the data base must be convenient to use and searchable.

Public confidence in regulatory oversight is impossible without excellence in disclosure.  FracFocus, unfortunately, is not anything close to excellent. And so, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection cannot any longer rely on it.

1 comment:

  1. FracFocus is excellent at certain things, including what it was originally intended for, which is to allow landowners to look up specific wells in their vicinity.

    Obviously the site has become much more than that, and accordingly GWPC has been working to improve the site to meet those new demands and the specific requirements of the many states that utilize it.

    FracFocus 2.0, as it's referred to, is going to address the issues you note above and is expected to be going live in the next couple of weeks. Which makes the timing of this report both curious and unfortunate.