Congressional Democrats issue caution on fracking

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Pennsylvania appeared on one list of dubious distinction in a Democratic congressional committee's new report that looks at chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

The state recorded the sixth-highest volume over a 5-year period of hydraulic fracturing fluids containing 2-butoxyethanol, or 2-BE, a substance that can cause destruction of red blood cells and damage to internal organs and bone marrow, according to the report.

Between 2005 and 2009, 14 leading oil and gas service companies surveyed by minority staff of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce injected 21.9 million gallons of products containing 2-BE, more than half of which was in Texas, the committee reported.

In Pennsylvania, 747,416 gallons of product containing the compound were injected into wells, the report said.

However, the study did not identify how much of the actual chemical itself was used or in what concentrations.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of injecting water, sand and chemical additives at high pressure into a well to crack rock to produce natural gas. It is used in all Marcellus Shale wells.

Amid concerns over possible groundwater contamination, congressional Democrats sought information about the chemicals used in fracking and found more than 2,500 products containing 750 chemicals and other components, some of which are toxic or carcinogenic.

The report also found that fracking companies used more than 650 products with chemical components of concern. Of them, 95 products with 13 carcinogens were identified.

The state with the highest volume of fracking fluids containing a carcinogen -- 3.9 million gallons -- was Texas. Utah was ranked 10th with 382,338 gallons

Pennsylvania, with 51,787 gallons, did not crack the list.

The report is at

• Corbett promises to guard resources but rejects taxing

Marcellus drilling, Page B-1.


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