BEDFORD — A bill authored by Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, and signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels puts rules on a drilling procedure known as fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing uses water, sand and chemical additives under pressure to release oil and gas from shale. The technique has sparked environmental concerns and controversy in some areas, where people say that it has polluted groundwater supplies.

“It is the additives that have caused concern in some states,” Koch said. “We have been safely fracking in Indiana for 60 years.”

Koch said fracking, horizontal drilling and shale gas discoveries “have been game-changes for American energy independence, and can make us a net energy exporter in just a few years.”

In an email, Koch wrote that the new law, House Enrolled Act 1107, aims to “provide regulatory certainty to industry (to encourage production) and transparency to the public concerning the use of chemicals and pressure used in the process.”

It requires the state to adopt rules for reporting and disclosing information about fracking operations, including:

-- the volume and source of the base fluid used;

-- a description of each additive product;

-- the volume of each additive, expressed as a percentage of the total fracturing fluid volume;

-- the maximum surface treating pressure and the injection treating pressure;

-- band any other information deemed necessary.

The bill unanimously passed the House and the Senate. Koch said it was supported by the Sierra Club, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Indiana Petroleum Council (which represents large oil companies), the Indiana Oil and Gas Association (which represents Indiana-based oil and gas companies and drillers), Countrymark (the Indiana-based energy cooperative), and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

“This bill is a great example of what can be done by bringing all parties to the table to work together,” he said.

© 2020, Bedford, IN.