SEC Requires Energy Companies To Disclose Fracking Information

Weeks after a decades-old report on fracking contamination surfaced, the Securities and Exchange Commission is requiring oil and gas companies to provide information on their methods of extraction and how they are lessening environmental impact.

The SEC says it wants more transparency because misrepresented facts could be misleading to investors, especially regarding safety practices. 

"If there's something in [a company's] field of operation that creates uncertainty, that's something they may want to talk about" with investors, a government official told the Wall Street Journal.

Energy companies have long resisted full disclosure, claiming their chemical concoctions used in fracking is private information that could hurt business. 

"While we support disclosing our ingredients, it is critical to our business that we protect our proprietary information, including the recipes of our products," Halliburton Co. spokeswoman Tara Mullee Agard told the WSJ. 

Earlier this month, the New York Times shed light on a 1984 case where fracking was determined to be the cause of drinking water contamination in West Virginia. This directly contradicts the assertion by many energy companies that fracking is completely safe. 

“There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and there is not one, not one, reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing. Not one.”

- Rex W. Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, at a Congressional hearing on drilling.

In 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency released a report referencing the case, affirming that fracking was the cause of the pollution due to a fracking-specific substance found in a water sample.  

The report noted the research team could not examine the details of settled fracking cases, as a stipulation of the settlement was often that the case be sealed.

Read the full EPA report here