Order calls for disclosure of chemicals used in gas drilling process
By Allie Robinson Gibson, Bristol Herald Courier
ABINGDON, Va. — The Washington County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for the disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process.
After tabling the resolution for several months, board members, who were waiting on the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy’s Regulatory Action Panel to finalize recommendations regarding natural gas drilling regulations, voted 7-0 to request drilling companies make that information public.
“We’ve stated many times we think those chemicals should be disclosed, and by vote here tonight we can do that,” supervisor Bill Gibson said.
The state panel, releasing its preliminary recommendations in January, also called for fracking chemicals to be disclosed.
Gibson made the motion to accept the board resolution, which he and Jim Baker proposed.
“I believe the disclosure of the chemicals is certainly reasonable,” Baker said, adding that he didn’t think chemical disclosure requirements had a bearing on the board’s vote last year to allow drilling in county agricultural zones.
Some county residents who have been outspoken against fracking thanked the supervisors for the resolution.
“That should help a lot,” said Jim Simpson, of Mendota. “… Thank you very much for reintroducing that.”
Others said the resolution is not enough.
“Is this county going to actually look and see what they’re putting in?” asked Neal Mullins, of Glade Spring. “What are we doing, covering our backsides?”
The resolution states that property owners should know what is placed in their property, and that knowing the chemicals is necessary so landowners can ensure the drilling process doesn’t affect their groundwater.
“Greater trust between landowners, drilling companies, and [the] oil and gas industry, and the general public can be fostered by the full disclosure of the list of chemicals, if any, used in drilling and/or hydraulic fracturing be required to be publicly disclosed,” the resolution states.
In addition, WCYB reports:
The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is in favor of the disclosure and called for it in a set of proposed rule changes earlier this month, according to DMME spokesperson Tarah Kesterson.
Governor Terry McAuliffe still needs to approve the changes, which is why the Washington County Board of Supervisors have come up with an official message of support.