Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing must be released: U.S. Department of the Interior

Hydraulic fracturing companies must publicly disclose the chemicals they use, according to new regulations announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

"Currently, there is no specific requirement for operators to disclose these chemicals on federal and Indian lands, where approximately 90 percent of the wells drilled use hydraulic fracturing to greatly increase the volume of oil and gas available for production," wrote the department in its news release.

"The proposed rule would require public disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing after fracturing operations have been completed."

In addition, well-bore integrity must be verified to determine that no fluids used in the wells escape and oil and gas operators have a water management plan in place for handling fracturing fluids that flow back to the surface.

The department released an economic analysis evaluating the cost/benefit of the new rules and found that the proposed rule is not "economically significant."

Innovations in oil and gas pumping have been a boon for the industry. U.S. crude oil production reached its highest level in eight years. Natural gas prices have dipped to a decade low since oil and gas producers are flooding the market with the stuff.