New Website Makes Information on Fracking Chemicals More Accessible to the Public by OMB Watch, November 27, 2012
“Unfortunately for researchers who want to analyze data to determine patterns and better understand fracking nationwide, FracFocus is difficult to use,” said  Paul Woods of SkyTruth. The organization hopes that the database “will facilitate credible research” and “promote discussion about effective public disclosure.” … However, because the dataset relies on information voluntarily provided by companies, the fraction of the fracking industry’s activities being reported is unclear. SkyTruth has been researching the disclosure rate to estimate how much data is missing. In Pennsylvania, the group estimates that only 43 percent  of chemicals used in fracking operations have been disclosed. In West Virginia, SkyTruth estimates that well operators provided information on 0-32 percent  of the chemicals they use in fracking. Nonetheless, despite the incomplete character of the information, the search and sort capabilities of the site, as well as the opportunity to download the database, represents a significant step forward in the public’s ability to understand the fracking industry’s activities. SkyTruth and FracTracker have used the data to calculate that the 27,000 wells in the dataset have used at least 65.9 billion gallons of water  to frack for oil and gas – more water than goes over Niagara Falls in a day. The organizations also found that diesel fuel is still used in fracking fluid despite an explicit ban on its use under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Additionally, they found that two-thirds of all industry reports omit chemical information, claiming it to be trade secrets.
SkyTruth plans to update its site with new data as it is added to FracFocus.org. By Dec. 1, the organization will have software in place that automatically updates the SkyTruth database any time new data is added to the FracFocus.org site. The group also plans to integrate the fracking data into its Alerts System.  This service allows the public to receive an e-mail alert or use an RSS feed to be notified whenever a new chemical report is added in a state or geographic area. Currently, the alerts are only available by state, but by Dec. 1, SkyTruth will have the capacity to send its audience more geographically refined data. This is a valuable and time-saving service, and we applaud the availability of new data in user-friendly and useful formats.
[Refer also to: Fracking our Food Supply