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Water-Related News

Hydraulic fracturing bills pass first committee stop despite Democrats' opposition

By Bruce Ritchie

Bills that would require companies that engage in hydraulic fracturing to disclose the chemicals they use and allow an exemption from public records for "trade secrets" passed their first committee stop on Tuesday despite Democratic opposition.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting large volumes of water, sand or other materials and specialized chemicals into wells under enough pressure to fracture the formations holding the oil or gas, according to the Congressional Research Service. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a study to determine the potential affects of "fracking" on drinking water.

HB 71 and HB 157 are similar to bills that passed through House committees last year before facing national opposition. This year the bills are continuing to generate numerous emails in opposition, some Democratic lawmakers said.