Foes of 'Fracking' Disclosure Rake In Gas Industry Dollars

Lawmakers oppose proposal requiring drillers to list chemicals
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2011 1:48 PM CST
This April 23, 2010, photo shows workers at a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well site near Burlington, Pa., in Bradford County.   (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)

(Newser) – Seems like a reasonable enough request: Nearly 50 members of Congress want drilling companies to disclose what kind of chemicals they use to "frack" gas wells on federal land. Worried that toxins will leach into groundwater during the practice known as hydraulic fracturing, they've asked the Interior Department to require disclosure. One problem: Another group of lawmakers—who incidentally get an average of $54,000 each from the oil and gas industry—are putting heavy pressure on Interior to butt out, reports Pro Publica.

The 32 members of the anti-disclosure group, called the Natural Gas Caucus, got a total of $1.7 million from the industry between 2009 and 2010. (Oklahoma Democrat Dan Boren, who co-chairs the group, led the way with $202,000.) By comparison, industry donations to the 46 pro-disclosure members totaled $92,212. "In the context of today’s roiling political and energy debates, it’s not at all clear who will win," writes Abrahm Lustgarten. "But if money is an indicator, the anti-regulatory group has the upper hand." Click for the full story.

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