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Energy Website ‘FracFocus’ Praised by U.S. Agency Chief

The website used by the energy industry to track the chemicals employed in hydraulic fracturing won praise from the Obama administration official responsible for writing rules for oil and gas production on federal lands.

The Bureau of Land Management is developing regulations that would ensure fracking, by injecting millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand into underground rock to free oil and gas, doesn’t pollute drinking-water supplies.

The Interior Department unit, led by Bob Abbey, plans to require companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. to list substances they use in producing oil or natural gas on federal lands. The American Petroleum Institute, which represents companies, has said producers disclose the chemicals on a website called FracFocus, and rules are unnecessary.

“FracFocus has worked well for disclosure of chemicals,” Abbey said today at a House Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington. “Fracking technology is a tremendous, tremendous tool for this nation and to the industry to allow us to continue to make progress to reduce our dependence on foreign fuels.”

Abbey said the U.S. agency plans to adopt some industry disclosure practices, without elaborating.

The Washington-based Environmental Working Group, backing a detailed disclosure on a website and in mail to people living near fracking sites, said some chemicals disclosed by the companies are known to cause cancer or harm the human reproduction system.

Fracking is used for about 90 percent of drilling on public lands, Abbey said.

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