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November 10, 2010

EPA Subpoenas Halliburton for Data on Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) subpoenaed Halliburton Co. on November 10, 2010, for hydraulic fracturing data citing, among others, authority under Section 11(c) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In response to a request from Congress to study hydraulic fracturing’s potential impact on drinking water, human health, and the environment, on September 9, 2010, EPA issued voluntary information requests to nine national and regional hydraulic fracturing service providers, including Halliburton. According to EPA, the data requested are integral to its Hydraulic Fracturing Study, which seeks to understand any potential relationships between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water. EPA requested information on the chemical composition of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process, data on the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at hydraulic fracturing sites, and the locations of sites where fracturing was conducted. All but Halliburton agreed to submit “timely and complete information.” More information, including a link to the subpoena, is available online.

According to EPA’s November 9, 2010, letter to Halliburton, Halliburton’s response was “inadequate and inconsistent with the cooperation shown to date by the other eight companies.” EPA states that, since Halliburton does not appear to be committed to providing the requested information “on an expeditious schedule, EPA therefore is ordering” the requested information outlined in the subpoena, pursuant to the authorities cited therein. In the subpoena, EPA cites Section 11(c) of TSCA, Section 308 of the Clean Water Act, and Section 3007 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and requests that the information be submitted to the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT).