The Monday, May 19th Federal Register has a brand new Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) from the EPA on reporting and analyzing fracking chemicals. You can find the link here. EPA has danced around the issue for quite some time as environmental groups argued that public disclosure was needed and industry argued that states should regulate fracking within their borders.
EPA says it took the step of initiating the rulemaking because of a petition from the environmental nonprofit, Earthjustice and 114 other groups. The petition was actually sent to EPA in 2011. Why launch the rulemaking process now? Perhaps because it allows the administration to show environmentalists in the democratic base that it is doing something without actually doing very much, since an ANPRM is 2-3 steps away from an actually regulation.
Which is not to say that industry can sit back. An ANPRM involves a number of open-ended questions where the agencies seek input from industry and the public. Not responding to the process at this point is like saying an industry isn’t interested in working with an agency or that the industry really doesn’t have an opinion.
So you can expect the different industry groups to respond. Companies should also respond because it will take a lot of input to produce a result that makes sense.