New Disclosure Rules Set For 'Fracking' | KERA News

New Disclosure Rules Set For 'Fracking'

The Texas Railroad Commission has adopted the rules for disclosing what's in fracking fluid used in natural gas drilling.

Commission Chair Elizabeth Ames Jones says Tuesday's rules put into action the frac fluid disclosure bill passed during the last Legislative Session. She says it should reassure Texans.

Jones: They'll know more of what is going in the ground than they are able to find out is in a can of soda that they're drinking.

The list of fracking chemicals will be required on wells granted permits after February first.

That does not impress Dallas gas drilling opponent Raymond Crawford.

Crawford: It affects only wells drilling after February 2012, and the Barnett Shale already has 18,000 wells pumping right now. So, it's kind of the horse is out of the barn.

Companies can keep some ingredients OFF the website if they are considered "trade secrets." Ames Jones says an appeal to learn those generally non-hazardous ingredients can be made to the State Attorney General's office.

KERA News

Colorado One-Ups Texas Frac Disclosure Rules

Colorado gas drilling regulators, Tuesday, also passed a frac fluid disclosure requirement. But it goes farther than the Texas law.

In addition to disclosure of the chemicals and concentrations, it "asks" drillers to make public some information about ingredients considered trade secrets. Companies must reveal the ingredient's "chemical family", and reveal specific secret ingredients to health care workers during an emergency.

KERA News

New NTTA Board Member Makes History

The newest North Texas Tollway Authority Board Member is Matrice Ellis Kirk -- wife of U.S. Trade Ambassador and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

Dallas County Commissioners approved her appointment this morning.

Commissioner John Wiley Price says it's historic.

Price: Matrice Ellis Kirk will represent the first African American female in the history of that organization to serve. And she will represent only the second African American with diversity in the history of that organization.

Ellis Kirk has served on numerous boards, and was in finance, audit and accounting departments at DART. She is the fourth woman to serve on the NTTA Board. She replaces former board member Kent Cagle, who resigned to become City Manager of Leander, Texas.

KERA News

Dems protest GOP plan for split Texas primaries

Democrats say a Republican plan to hold two primary elections next year amid the uncertainty of Texas redistricting would burden taxpayers and diminish voter turnout.

Election administrators from Dallas and Bexar counties testified Tuesday in federal court that holding two primaries would double taxpayer costs into the millions of dollars. That comes in response to a plan filed by the Republican Party of Texas to hold primaries in March and May.

Under the GOP plan, primaries for the president, U.S. Senate and other statewide races would be held March 6. Primaries for state legislative and congressional seats would be May 29.

The plan surfaced after the U.S. Supreme Court placed a hold on the redistricting map drafted by a federal panel, adding to the already deeply complicated legal wrangling.

Associated Press

AG Holder vows to enforce civil rights protections

Attorney General Eric Holder is vowing to use the full power of the Justice Department to enforce civil rights protections for voters in next year's elections amid a flurry of activity by states to redraw political boundaries and impose requirements that could reduce voting by minorities who enthusiastically supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

In prepared remarks for a speech in Austin, Texas, the nation's chief law enforcement officer urges the nation to call on political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success.

Holder says that instead, Americans should call on parties to achieve success by appealing to more voters.

Associated Press

Texas school may build safety wall after shooting

School officials say they are considering erecting a cinder-block wall to block hunters' bullets after two students at a Texas middle school were shot while trying out for the school basketball team.

The students were in stable condition Tuesday, but officials still don't know who fired the shots.

Superintendent Rene Gutierrez says officials hadn't realized there was hunting going on so close to Harwell Middle School, which just opened this year.

Homes line the road approaching the school, but ranch-land stretches out to the west and the north.

Gutierrez says a wall on the school's west and north sides might be the most immediate solution with no law prohibiting hunting on private land near schools and high-powered rifles firing ammunition that can go a mile or more.

Associated Press

National Guard presence at border to be reduced

The Obama administration is planning to reduce the number of National Guard troops deployed to the U.S. border with Mexico.

About 1,200 National Guard troops are working along the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

A spokesman for Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, Mike Rosen, says an administration official has told the congressman that the reductions will start next year, though exactly how many troops will be pulled back is unclear.

Rosen says the remaining troops are expected to focus on intelligence operations.

Associated Press