Congressional Research Service. April 4, 2012.
Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to free oil and natural gas trapped underground in lowpermeability rock formations by injecting a fluid under high pressure in order to cause cracks in the formations. The composition of a fracking fluid varies with the nature of the formation, but typically contains mostly water; a proppant to keep the fractures open, such as sand; and a small percentage of chemical additives. Some of these additives may be hazardous to health and the environment. This report provides an overview of current and proposed laws at the state and federal levels that require the disclosure of the chemicals added to the fluid used in hydraulic fracturing.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42461.pdf [PDF format, 21 pages].
Congressional Research Service. April 5, 2012.
This report summarizes the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the major regulatory programs that mandate reporting by industrial facilities of releases of potentially hazardous chemicals to the environment, as well as local planning to respond in the event of significant, accidental releases. The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C. 11001-11050) was enacted in 1986.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32683.pdf [PDF format, 9 pages].
Congressional Research Service. February 13, 2012.
Nearly half a million miles of pipeline transporting natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids crisscross the U.S. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. The nation’s pipeline networks are also widespread and vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attack. Both government and industry have taken numerous steps to improve pipeline safety and security over the last 10 years. Nonetheless, while many stakeholders agree that federal pipeline safety programs have been on the right track, the spate of recent pipeline incidents suggest there continues to be significant room for improvement. Likewise, the threat of terrorist attack remains a concern.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R41536.pdf [PDF format, 36 pages].
Congressional Research Service. January 13, 2012.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. The 112th Congress has extended this authority through October 4, 2012. The 112th Congress has debated the scope and details of reauthorization and continues to consider legislation establishing an authority with longer duration. Some Members of Congress support an extension, either short- or long-term, of the existing authority. Other Members call for revision and more extensive codification of chemical facility security regulatory provisions. Questions regarding the current law’s effectiveness in reducing chemical facility risk and the sufficiency of federal funding for chemical facility security exacerbate the tension between continuing current policies and changing the statutory authority.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R41642.pdf [PDF format, 33 pages].