He added that it's “almost inconceivable” that so-called fracking fluids affect groundwater, because they are released far below the level of the water.
Speaking at a Colorado Oil and Gas Association conference in Denver, Hickenlooper said that disclosing the contents of the fluids would build public trust in the industry, said Hickenlooper, a Democrat and former petroleum geologist.
Fracking involves pumping a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals into rock formations deep underground, cracking them to release oil and gas. Nationwide, franking is under fire, with Texas passing a new law requiring energy companies to reveal the makeup of fracking fluids, and Pennsylvania planning to measure baseline public health conditions in the northeastern part of the state to help track future health impacts.
But people are paying attention: Penn State University is testing wells, and a special commission set up by Pennsylvania's governor now says environmental protections should be tougher. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning a water study. And the U.S. Department of Energy has asked experts to weigh in on the environmental effects of fracking. Energy companies resist revealing what is in their fracking fluids, saying the contents are proprietary and disclosing them could hurt their ability to compete. Critics, including environmental groups, say the chemicals could be tainting drinking water.
The energy industry has been harshly critical of 2008 rules imposed by the nine-member state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, saying they are among the most restrictive regulations in the nation.