FracFocus – Wall of Shame award winner

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If you are in the United States, please look at the map on page 4 of this Department of Energy report on their project, FracFocus.org.

This report is almost a year old, so there may be more states utilizing FracFocus.org’s “services.”

Where does your state get its reporting information about which chemicals are used in fracking processes occurring or potentially going to occur within its boundaries? Chances are, they look to a website called FracFocus.org. The background to this website is as ugly and corrupt as anything I’ve ever seen. This project “marries” the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior (DOI and BLM), the EPA, a whole lot of fossil fuel companies, state regulators…pretty much everyone except your mailman. And FracFocus’ intention is absolutely 100% crystal clear: They are trying their darnedest to prevent the public and health officials from getting tangible, accessible information about fracking chemicals used in this dirty and dangerous extraction process.

For those of you who have been reading what I’ve posted for the past month or so, do you remember my October 17th post about the National Petroleum Council’s abysmally lacking Wikipedia page? Well, if you think THEIR Wikipedia page was pathetic and suspiciously empty, go back to Wikipedia and type in FracFocus, FracFocus.org, Frac Focus…any way you want to reference it. Nothing, right? While you’re on Wikipedia, also look up the “Secretary of Energy Advisory Board” (SEAB), and the “Groundwater Protection Council” (GWPC)…that will save you some time. By the way, GWPC has been around since 1983, and on their own website, they brag and UNDERLINE that they are “the only national association whose members regulate underground injection wells.” Bad news, peeps.

It is very, very difficult to piece together how FracFocus.org came into being and what its relationship is with the other players involved in this scheme, but I’m going to try and explain:

The DOE Secretary, Bobblehead Moniz, has a LOT of advisors. Of course, the National Petroleum Council is one of his main “go to” groups, but there are others. He created a Board, called the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) that has subcommittees who participate in all kinds of shenanigans. One of those subcommittees is the FracFocus gang.

He put a bunch of organizations into a group, such as the GWPC, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), which does have a Wikipedia page, and various regulators for many US states, headed up by a steering committee of DOI, DOE, and EPA (thrown in there to look somewhat legit, I suspect) and mixed it ALL together. They came up with FracFocus.org. Under the “auspices” of GWPC and IOGCC (both members of the National Petroleum Council), the DOE oversee the creation of an utterly confusing and deliberately inadequate and barely functioning website that NO ONE monitored for accuracy (by their own admission) and which was voluntary for fracking companies to participate in. These polluters were told that they could “report” whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, with no accountability, no timeliness, AND the chemical concoction they reported could omit any components they chose.

Approximately half of US states either use, have used or are going to use FracFocus.org. And, the Department of the Interior wants to use ONLY FracFocus.org for assessing environmental impacts on public lands and lands they oversee or issue lease sales for drilling. The original FracFocus page was SO incredibly bad that you couldn’t open anything other than tiny PDF files that were incoherent, unlinked to anything else and completely useless. And guess what? The Energy Department got in trouble for it. It was such a transparently dangerous site which was attempting to placate the public’s concern about fracking and the chemicals used and the possibility of fracking causing earthquakes, that they came under fire, and Bobblehead Moniz had to reconvene his FracFocus subcommittee to improve on this mess. He refers to it as the much lauded “FracFocus 2.0.” Good luck trying to find foundational documents to FracFocus 1.0.

Just to read the comments sent to the Energy Department when they were trying to “fix” the initial website, and mainly submitted by frackers, is astonishing. I have links to them in my Notes page to the left on this FB page. Two of them are especially juicy. One of those is the 3 page letter signed by 15 members of Congress. It is an understated and yet audacious slap on the head to FracFodus in and of itself, even for Congress. The Sierra Club’s comments are excellent. The Halliburton comments (about not wanting to give out any information at all) are extremely telling.

Basically, the whole thing is about as dodgy and rotten as you can conjure up in your worst nightmares. The Denton, Texas people should know that their notorious “Railroad Commission” is involved in this mess and to any outsider, or even anyone with a 6th grade education you would THINK that there are so many conflicts of interest and so many breaches of trust here that criminal prosecution should have been a done deal. Ah, but only in America can this go on under our very noses. All of the links to sources I’ve referenced will be in my Notes section (to the left) or on my website, SchatziesEarthProject.com. And I’m also “pasting” them into this post since it is getting shared a lot, and I want people to be able to easily access the supporting documents:

The Multi-Agency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research (sounds like a bad idea already, doesn’t it?) can be found here.

The FracFocus “2.0” Task Force Meeting to discuss revamping FracFocus.org website can be accessed here.

My marked up copy of Congress’ letter to the DOE regarding the necessary changes which SHOULD be made to FracFocus.org (total smack down!) can be accessed here.

Halliburton’s 42 page letter to the DOE lauding how awesome FracFocus.org is (which should tell you how bad it actually was!) can be accessed here.

My marked up copy of the Sierra Club’s letter to the DOE regarding the necessary changes which SHOULD be made to FracFocus.org can be accessed here.

The Groundwater Protection Council site (background information page) can be found here.

The Harvard University “smack down” article about FracFocus.org can be read here.

And so, for today, you should see how your state gets its information about fracking chemicals, and don’t be too surprised by the results.