Michael E. Kraft, Christopher P. Borick, and moderator Barry Rabe summarize the findings of Coming Clean, and apply the lessons of the TRI program to the emerging concern over shale gas fracking. December, 2013.
>> My name is Barry Rabe. I'm a Professor here at Ford School and Director also at Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. We're just delighted to host today's event. This event directly links to Close-up energy and policy [inaudible]. We're just interested in a range of issues in the intersection energy development and environmental fractions, including failure, including trials. This is a special edition of public event for us and that not only just these open to the general community, but I got so many folks with us today, but it's also very closely linked to a major teaching initiative in the Ford School, namely Professor Paul Courant, PUBPOL 201 class, speaking analytically about the problems today. Paul's brainchild, a way to bring a public policy questions to Michigan undergraduates in a very, very unique way. So, this is actually part of a module in Paul's class and we're delighted to have so many of the students from 201 with us this morning as we've been talking about issues of disclosure, environmental protection, energy, and even shale. So, we link those two together. The question of disclosing information to the general citizenry is an enduring question in political systems like the United States but really around the world. This comes up in almost every arena of public policy, almost every area that the Ford School faculty and the students engage in. This question of information disclosure, access to information, how you present that information, what information is not disclosed is a many of issue and question. Perhaps nowhere is that issue as sensitive and conflictual or potentially conflictual as an issues of energy and environment. And so, this gives us a very interesting opportunity to think about this intersection in some very creative ways. Let me introduce the folks we're going to be speaking today in reverse word that you'll be hearing from them. We hope to have time open up Q&A to a larger audience but we have a large agenda today. So, we actually have an expert panel of questionnaires. And I'm delighted to welcome Sara Gosman from--who came across the way from the University of Michigan Law School. Sara took a lead role in some of the great works that the Graham Institute has done on the issues of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing in Michigan, wrote one of the technical reports that was submitted to the state. The deal is actually with disclosure issues extensively. She will be raising a question and Q&A. I've already introduced Paul Courant, a member and faculty here, and a holder of many current and former administrative roles of the university, and always a thoughtful commentator. And delighted to have both Cassie Brown and Colleen Campbell who have been at the GSIs for this course. All will have an opportunity to ask questions at the very end of our event. Then, if we have time, we will open things up. With that, let me turn it to our two speakers into main topics. What we're really interested in doing here is looking at a larger experience with information disclosure programs in the environmental protection arena. What is the history? What are the lessons? And when you have that conversation, you often turn to the one dominant program, the Toxics Release Inventory of the federal governmental program that's been in placed now for over a quarter of a century although this model is heavily on the experimentation underway through a number of states prior to that time. The TRI has been used extensively, has been studied extensively, but we're very pleased today to have the author of the leading political science interpretation of that book. Before I say a few more words about Mike Kraft, I want to also welcome Chris Borick. Chris is a wonderful partner for Close-up in every possible way. As many of you know, Close-up has expanded its survey research into issues of energy and environmental protection, particularly with the focus on a role of state and local governments. Chris directs an extraordinary institute, a student-run institute at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania who does extraordinary work in public opinion. It even holds a very, very high Nate Silver ranking. So, you know, he's the real deal. And he's partnering with us with a whole range of issues and questions. Chris will actually follow Mike and provide a bit of input that we have been able to discern as far through some of our work related to public opinion on the issue of shale gas, fracking, and questions of disclosure. But he will follow Mike Kraft and it's a real pleasure to welcome Mike here. Mike is the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I do not want to repeat that sentence. For many years, Mike has really played a central role in bringing the tools of the discipline of political science to a range of environmental policy issues. He is the author and editor of the two premier textbooks on "Environmental Politics and Policy" which had been frequently routinely used in both undergraduate and graduate courses on this campus, and campuses really all around the United States. Has worked extensively in a range of areas and with a pair of colleagues, Mark Stephan and Troy Abel, produced an extraordinary book called "Coming Clean: Information Disclosure and Environmental Protection" published by MIT Press just about a year and a half or two years ago. This book has already received the Lynton Keith Caldwell Award from the American Political Science Association. It is the highest APSA award for a book on environmental politics and policy. And in fact, it tells the story of the TRI, the Toxics Release Inventory. But looking very much not so much exquisitely at corporate behavioral, that's a key component in much previous research but the governmental aspects in how different states respond and use this tool. So, we've given like a really interesting challenge this morning. How do you take an arena where you spent a lot of time and spent a lot of research looking at the TRI? And then, begin to apply it to a new arena which was not really being thought at that time? The TRI was created or for most of it being implemented? Namely, shale gas and hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling, how do you begin to even think about transitioning lessons from that one experience to another, or can one? So, Mike's presentation will focus very heavily on the experience and lessons from the TRI, transition toward issues of shale gas toward the end. He'll then hand the baton to Chris Borick for a deeper dive into some of the issues of shale related to public opinion. And then, we'll open it up into Q&A. Without further comment, please join me in welcoming Mike Kraft.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you, Barry. Is this mic on now? Well, thanks very much, Barry, for the introduction. I'll be mindful of the time. And I'm very happy to be here and to talk about the TRI. I'm not going cover everything in the book and it's about 280-page book. I've got 40 minutes to take you through a lot of materials. So, let's start. The outline, it's hard to type--I didn't mean to put the title on there [inaudible]. So, I'll give you a little bit of background. I think many of you already have studied natural gas fracking. I'll be very brief on that as to why this has become an important issue in the role of information disclosure. And I'll just say right out, I don't think nearly disclosing chemical information about fracking is going to accomplish very much at all as you will see. I would turn on how you design a disclosure policy, what you release, how it's interpreted, and how much the public can understand. There's a lot of misconception about the TRI program which we'll go into as I review the history of that a bit. So, I'll present in this very sense some of the findings from the Coming Clean book, but also to try to draw that out a bit. Some of the finance are pretty hectic although I did supply there I think about 31 or 32 slides here or we'll skip over some of them. But the full presentation is available for those who want it. I guess it's been posted already on a site that you can access. So, what's frightening as interesting about the fracking issue is develop very rapidly. This is unlike maybe other industries. And of course it's part of the larger context of energy concern, environmental concerns. United States has moved remarkably fast in developing domestic sources of oil and gas and has greatly reduced our dependence on foreign oil. That's the energy security aspect, energy independence as we used back in the Ford, and that's with the Gerald Ford School. We talked a lot about energy independence and the reality is it kept--the reliance on imported oil kept going up every year and only on the Barrack Obama has it actually declined from about 60 percent to 40 percent. That's because of a fracking import. The other interesting thing about fracking activities on a policy, and this has been mostly at the state level and that's because Congress and its wisdom pretty much excluded federal regulation. So, it's been left up to the states. The states have taken quite a varied response, but generally have been friendly to the fracking industry because it's producing energy at low cost and it's creating jobs. And the only more recently have--I keep hitting the wrong button here--have environmental groups. They're calling for a ban more and more it seems in the past year. But natural gas production and so our prices have declined. That's made a big difference to a lot of industries. It's the reason why many coal fired power plants are not protesting even more because they're switching over to natural gas. In the State of Wisconsin and one other state, nuclear power plants have shutdown saying the main reason for doing that is they can't be competitive with natural gas powered plant. Some may view that as a good thing and some not. And like--you know, renewing any energy source is problematic because there are multiple criteria you have to take into account.
^M00:10:02 One obviously is cost and inefficiency, and sometimes that's the only consideration. And then, what we're talking about today is the environmental and health impacts. And every energy source has some--even putting solar panels in the Southwest dessert. You know, there are environmental groups concerned about the dessert toward us. So, there's no been--no completely benign source of energy. And we're concerned as I said about energy security as well. Mostly, we're focusing today and parts of the TRI here is on the health and environmental effects of using natural gas. And I want to talk about methane leakage. But some people actually are more worried about that than they are about fracking chemicals. And that's because natural gas is appealing because it has fewer greenhouse gas emission than coal. The problem is if you have only a little bit of methane leakage, it wipes out the difference between natural gas and coal. So, oil becomes important. And aside from information disclosure, regulation of natural gas could mean tire pipelines that don't leak and more care. But as far as I can tell, nobody really knows how much methane is leaking 'cause we haven't studied that carefully and that's something that's very important. Mostly the concern is the effect on water quality. And that's the concern of the chemicals that are injected. I think most of you know it's [inaudible] sands, some of which comes from Wisconsin, or remind that sand. Sand and water and chemicals, mixture of chemicals some of which we know about, some of which the companies that draw for oil and gas don't like to disclose because they claim that would be an unfair advantage to their competitors. And we're talking about especially the impact for the fracking chemicals on health. Presumably they would be transported by a drinking water or surface water that has an effect on people. And what does this have to do with information disclosure? Because people are attracted to this notion that we have a right to know about chemicals and the environment that could adverse the effect, that it's pretty simple principle, kind of rooted in ethics and has a long tradition. It is very set at the state level as well as at the federal level, and many areas. So, it's been widely used--and by the way, I would draw from this distinction as we do in the book, information disclosure is not the same as releasing information. 'Cause typically when you say disclosure, it means mandatory disclosure. It's still a non-regulatory policy but merely releasing information voluntarily is not the same as information disclosure that's compelled by law. It's widely used as food labels, drug safety, drinking water quality. One of the earliest efforts is actually campaign finance. We may not think of it that way. Campaign finance is basically a disclosure policy. There's very little regulations especially these days. And so, if you can find out who is contributing, unless of course that one of the organizations had filed under a certain IRS rule where you don't get the full disclosure. So, it's widely used. I think it's easy to understand. There's a belief here that if people have information, they will use the information. Thus, therefore empowers people. And particularly--and for the Toxics Release Inventory, I think there's a lot of belief that it empowers communities to respond to community wide threats. And to address some of those concerns, we'll draw from the book with Troy Abel and Mark Stephan. And I was able to start it with a proposition that maybe the mechanisms through which disclosure policies work aren't really understood well and maybe they don't work the way most people think they do. TRI is very educated, the prime example at the federal level that resign--relying on information disclosure. It's been on effect now since 1986 when SARA, Superfund Amendments Act was passed is widely considered to be the leading federal non-regulatory environmental program of this kind. The law mandates annual reports. This--I should clarify some of--you know the history of this. It only apply--it doesn't apply to every company. It applies to those that are above a certain threshold. And that threshold is defined in terms of the size of the company, the number of employees, and the pounds of chemicals released. There are about 20,000 companies that release these reports in recent years but there are many others that flow below the threshold. And in those settings, we actually found interestingly companies knew where that threshold was. They would try to get just under it so they didn't have to file a paperwork. So, you're not getting everything. You're getting only those companies that because of their size and production levels exceed those limits. In the most recent years, it's about 20,000, 21,000 companies. There's a vast amount of information there. When I tried to underscore the--in slides we'll go through, is that TRI is widely considered to be effective and widely considered to be doing what it was designed to do to inform the public. And the evidence side of this that the release of toxic chemicals has to climb precipitously since the beginning, since that first report in 1988. The number widely sided this from 1988 to about the year we finished work from the book, and about 2007 or so that the client was about 61 percent, OK, with a caveat. It's hard to measure over time because the TRI chemical just keeps changing. It's up to over 650 now. But the track over time, you obviously can't include those at one time the list to begin with. So, you have to only track core chemical. So, core chemicals, about 286 of them, have declined. But we really can't speak to the historical change for other chemicals. And I looked just last week again at the latest TRI report. They're no longer even providing the historical change. So, I can't tell whether we're getting better or worse. They have a period I'll show you more recently but they don't any longer go back to '88 which they did just a few years ago. So, what we ask about because this is what intrigue us, why should a program that is non-regulatory achieve the kind of effects that it does? And I think this leads us to believe--there must be some mechanism by which if a company releases information, this changes their behavior in some way. I guess I have that on the later slides. And so, when we come back to [inaudible]. The assumption is releasing information will change the way people think and the way communities respond, but also does something within the corporation. "'Cause once they know, gosh, now everybody can see what we're doing. We better not do something wrong." And I think there is assumption this is--you've changed the internal motivation for production. Even if the community doesn't respond to the information, that internal change is taking place. And I guess the same is expected to be true of tracking. If there's--if you have disclose, maybe you don't want to do things you'd be embarrassed to disclose. In fact, the TRI has been described by one of my colleagues, wrote an article on it called "Regulation by Embarrassment". It's technically non-regulatory but there's the embarrassment factor. You want--you don't want to be ashamed of doing something that community, especially the local community, is going to blame you for. So, why not just have regulatory policies? And I think that the backdrop to looking at disclosure is called a non-regulatory response. Regulation, meaning, when you have a US EPA or Department of Environmental Protection that would set standards and you have higher staff to enforce the standards and companies that violate the standards would be subject to some legal sanctions. Regulation is pretty complicated. As Dan Ferry [assumed spelling] puts it in his book from 2006 and we have an elaborate system of reporting inspections and penalties to make people follow the rules. Corporations like people don't really like rules. They don't want somebody telling them how to run their business. And regulation has been gone through several phases of change in the last 30 years. Part of--we'll come back to that. But, there are very large numbers of facilities in all over the country. So, it's a lot of facilities. One reason regulation can't work is you can't hire enough people and have enough agency spending enough money to regulate everybody. My students were often surprise to hear that most companies are not inspected not only weekly or monthly, not even annually. Some go years and years without a single inspection. So, the information that's released particularly in a TRI tech program is information that company releases on its own, volition more or less. And it chooses how to compile the information. But regulation is less--regulation is less regulatory it seems because the notion that a monitor or regulators are looking over the shoulders of corporate executive 24 hours a day is clearly not. And they work in meat packing and some pharmaceutical companies. This is not the way it works in environmental protection. Companies are pretty much implementing policies on a voluntary basis with occasional inspections and penalties imposed. But we also have a political reaction of regulation which is heavily criticized particularly of course by those who are more conservative who don't like government regulation and they're spending, and don't like private decision making in corporations imposed. But it's criticized also because invariable it's bureaucratic. You have to set up a US EPA. EPA has about 17,000 employees. State agencies that--even though I would argue it's not nearly enough, it makes it the largest federal regulatory agency so as to subject to frequent criticism. It's prescriptive as I was saying. Agency is by definition are setting rules and regulations and enforcing them. That means companies and individuals can't do what they might prefer to do. And the US system seems like kind of a longstanding--it tends to be adversarial by its nature again. People fight the rules. They may sue the EPA when the agency funding develops its greenhouse gas regulations for coal fire or power plants. I guess I'd put the probability at somewhere near a 100 percent. They're going to go to court for years to defend it no matter how carefully they develop it. That's the adversarial system.
^M00:20:00 It's also a fragment of the EPA. It works with the states in enforcing laws. Most of the day to day regulations down at the state level with federal oversight. It's highly varied across the states and [inaudible] and actually recognize student of that phenomenon. So, it's not as uniform and hierarchal of system as you might think. And then economists have other criticisms. It's inefficient that companies are spending much more money than they need to if we could impose some kind of economic device, if we could have economic incentives and disincentive, market-based approaches. They argue that would be more efficient. And to some extent, I think they would say it would be more effective because you get away from relying on this cumbersome system of regulation. Now, what's interesting is most of the environment laws we have date back to the early to mid 1970s. Virtually all of the major environmental protection statutes were inactive between 1970 and 1976. There had been amendment since then, none of which has been all that significant. Despite all of the criticism from 1970 to the present especially from the Reagan '80s to the present, almost nothing has changed. And if you know the way the current Congress operates, I think it's safe to say nothing's going to change in the near term. The category on the budget, they can't agree on much of anything. And so, political grid lock almost ensures we're stuck with the system we have even if alternatives like information disclosure and market-based approaches make more sense. That is the outcome then for the regulatory system we have on air quality and water quality toxic and it was generally good I think. We have some pretty good data on air quality. It's definitely improved quite a bit since 1970, dramatically in some cities. The number of unhealthy days in most major cities has declined quite a bit. Water quality, a bit more problematic, but let's not dwell on that now. The problem with regulation is I think it's reaching the limits of what it can do. And there are some problems most notably I put up here indoor air pollution and on point source water pollution [inaudible]. Regulation simply cannot address those. There are too many sites. You obviously can't regulate every home in the country that has Radon leaking in from the basement. So, you rely on things like information disclosure and voluntary testing, and guidelines, and education, and maybe some kind of market incentives. You can make Radon testing kits for you if you want to do something like that. So, there's been a lot of discussion in the last several decades about alternatives to regulation such as market incentives and information disclosure, and what we decided to do was to put this--put our study of the TRI in that context. That is, how can information disclosure be assessed for its potential to do a better job than conventional regulation? So, we selected the premier federal program, the Toxics Release Inventory. As I said, it was part of the Sierra superfund rewrite called the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, EPCRA, in 1986. Interestingly, it took the Bhopal chemical accident in India. I believe it's still considered to be the most serious industrial accident the world has ever experienced. You get different counts of how many people killed and injured but it's very--it was a very severe accident and that prompted Congress to finally enact this. Many states had already developed policies of this kind. Now--so again, the key assumption. If you release information, people will come. People will find the information pertinent. They will devour it. They will talk to their neighbors. They will petition companies to cut back. That was I think the assumption because it seemed a logical assumption if only people knew what they were breathing and what was in their water, they would naturally not want something adverse to continue. It makes sense. It just it doesn't work like that. And I don't know if it ever did. So, again, I reviewed the numbers EPCRA mandates annual public reports from about 21,000 facilities currently on our 650 chemicals. The progress on the original core chemicals was quite substantial. And the most recent report which has came out in January of this year covers data through 2011. It says another eight percent decrease. My suspicion is when you're in the end of the decreases because they can't see you can make more progress. That eight percent would mean for all the chemicals that were--actually, I'm not sure about that. I'm assuming they're counting all the chemicals that were on the list in 2003. Again they're still adding chemicals. So, EPA for years is that EPA is a resounding success. They actually--about 10 years ago in 2003, they produced a report on how TRI data are used, at least had selected case studies what social scientist call anecdotal data. And they said it was a resounding success. Communities were mobilized. People took action. They got companies to change their behavior. And we did not find that in our study which was a systematic nationwide study. And I don't believe EPA has ever done more than that little 2003 study to find out how this works. There's another problem. Despite this, the amount of chemicals being released to the environment is still prodigious. You know, we're a big country. We got a lot of companies. It's four billion pounds a year. These are not all chemicals. These are the chemicals on the TRI list. And more recently, they've started some new categories. Some of these were on the list but these were overlapping categories. But the things that are more likely to disturb people, what we call PBT chemicals, persistent bioaccumulative and toxic, things like lead and mercury with neurotoxins, PCBs, polycyclic aromatic compounds. And again, this is part of the larger 835 million pounds of carcinogens. My guess is if you had a TRI report that said a local company is releasing thousands of pounds of carcinogens to the air and you're downwind from that company, you wouldn't be happy to hear that. But it's awfully hard to track exactly what's being released. When you got a TRI report, you can see some nice colorful graphs that looked like this. I'll go through these quickly. So, there's the four billion pounds. I presume we'd be much more concerned about the air releases than anything else because that's what you're breathing the water. It's not clear you're going to get exposed through the other kinds of releases. So, land disposal, surface water discharges, injection. We have an awful lot of injection that goes around the country and that might eventually affect ground water but it's not supposed to. It's supposed to be injected in a way it stays put if you're confident about that. So--But still, 20 percent to the air, and then there's another category called production related waste management. And here you again see the--and so, some--the chemical waste that's produced is used for energy recovery. Some is recycled. Some is treated. And this is the part that is released. And they come from, as you might expect, from the major industries in the country. And awful a lot is metal mining which is added more recently. That was not on the original TRI list. That was an awful lot of stuff released from mining metals. Electric utilities, last coal fired power plants, again, substantially. Chemical industry, not surprising, primary metals and paper in Wisconsin. We got a lot of paper mills. The biggest concentration in the world right along the Fox River and that's of concern. And then it's the scattering of other industries. So, not all industries believe it. Then again, if you look at--so EPA and its latest TRI releases will say, "Oh releases are down over time." You can--if you look at the category. So, there's land and here is the one I'm looking for, total off site releases. Land disposal, [inaudible] service, on air releases at this time. That's pretty impressive down there. Some of the other categories don't look like they decreased all that much over time. So, when you see the total figures, this breaks it down into where has the decline been. And I think it's been substantially in the releases to the air. And here you even see it ticked up a bit recently. So, these are again--you can find it's very easy if you download the full TRI report right around the slide for you to ponder. I was particularly struck by--so, they didn't used to have this in the TRI reports. Now, they show a 50 percent decrease in carcinogens in the air in 2003 and 2011. There you see it. Although it's still not zero, you might want to--why are companies releasing carcinogens to the air? Can't they capture this stuff before it goes into the air? And I think they would say, not easily or economically. And so--and many would argue it doesn't matter 'cause if it goes into the air, it's widely dispersed. This is the old--delusion is the solution to pollution argument, and that's true. If you look at various ways we have in measuring, as long as there's a big quantity of air and it moves stuff around, then your actual exposure is so low it may not be worth removing that last bit. I'm going to talk a bit about RACI scores. Now--so far, and historically what people paid attention to in TRI disclosures is pounds of chemicals released. To go look at any given company, you will see how many tens of thousands of pounds of some chemical you'd never heard of. I don't know, maybe something like hydrochloric acid. In paper companies, it's hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid. What does that mean? Well, it's toxic chemical by definition. So, it can't mean it's good for you. Is it unhealthy? In very small quantities, hard to say. In large quantities, probably. That's why we call them toxic. So, what you want is a measure of health impact and EPA actually does have a model. It's a computer model for doing this. It's not widely publicized. It's not easily available. But now, we're struck by this year's report that they actually show the RACI scores. So, what is RACI? RACI applies--it should be on the air quality unless they've changed since we did our study. RACI is actually a computer model but looks not only the chemicals being released but which smoke stacks they're coming from, where they're located, how the plume goes up and spreads.
^M00:30:01 And people who live within a certain distance. So, it calculates an exposure score not just pounds released. You definitely want to know about exposure because as all--the health effects of chemicals come from exposure not pounds of chemicals released. If the water is polluted but you don't drink the water, then it's not a health risk. Well, it officially [inaudible]. OK, so Wisconsin, you get it from the--in fact, the total--the PCB contamination of the Fox River, Wisconsin comes exclusively from eating fish in the river, not from crossing the river, drinking water from the river. It's too dilute. And last year, a lot of toxic chemicals in Lake Michigan. It's only when you eat the fish 'cause it's bioconcentrated [inaudible] food chain. It's comforting that RACI is going down--not that clear. It's not a consistent pattern. So, with that background to TRI, you can see what intrigued us which is, wait a minute. OK. So, the numbers have gone down over time, but why did they go down? What mechanism would lead them to go down? That is, that people get excited about the information and petition the local companies and the local officials get involved, and the state regulatory agency is cracked down on companies. Nobody really knows that. As I said, the EPA doesn't know. They just require release--it's a non-regulatory program. They're not required to regulate. They just require that the information be released. So, we also want to know, dude, do the company is saying this is an enormous burden because we had a major effort late in the Bush administration and so called burden reduction rule that was going to shift from the annual reports to a biannual report and make it a little easier on industry? And that--and so, does the company really think this is a burden and is it less of a burden today than it was initially? 'Cause you kind of--you get used to filing reports after all. And so, you expect this will get better over time. And that might apply to a natural gas recon as well. So, we have number of objectives. We want to know what mechanism would play, what the facilities thought about it. We want to know what state and federal officials thought about it. Were they happy with the way it was going? Did they see some way to improve this? And we wanted to know what lessons there might be for what we did--when we did the study. Now, we might want to know. Are there lessons for other kinds of information disclosure? In the book, we did mention the greenhouse gas inventory report and some other thought. Well, since TRI has been around the longest, maybe there are some lessons for how we'll apply as well. Let's skip over most of this. This is the model that we used, the assumption as you start with disclosure. And our assumption is we used the word capacity a lot that the companies will have a different capacity to compile and release information and act on it. Large and small companies for example rich and poor companies. There maybe a different reaction economically. Communities and states are going to differ a lot. So, we talked about the capacity to use the information. And then we assume this will affect corporate decisions for example cut back on releases to search for alternative chemicals that are less toxic, find ways of altering production processes so that the waste water is not contaminated. That's actually pretty easy to do these days. So, the design was hard. We want to make this pretty comprehensive. I'm given my limited time. I'm going to rush you through a lot of this on the findings so we can get to the implications for fracking and you can read this on your own. We look at all the TRI releases for the entire country from '91 to 2000. If someone wants to ask later, I'll tell you why those time periods. But if we thought it a more typical, we don't want to go early on it. It was too early. Things and that, so we didn't want to--we want a period that made some sense. And we looked both at releases and risk levels. The risk levels as I've said come from the RACI model. And EPA was making that available for those who asked for it on a CD-ROM and you could get RACI levels for air quality releases for the whole country. And then, we did surveys which can be very time consuming and expensive. But we did surveys. We sent out about over a thousand surveys to sample. We took very systematically from the full universe of all companies. So, we thought we're getting a random sample of all industrial facilities in the country. We got 24 percent return on corporate. Now, if you now return rate, that's low, but for corporate surveys, it's actually not bad. Corporate people don't return surveys. They think we academics are just passing them useless requests. So, I--that's actually about as high as I've ever seen in a corporate survey. Yeah. We did much better, 58 percent for state officials and 80 percent of the EPA, but only 10 regions. It was that the late TRI person needs reason [phonetic]. And then, we did some case studies. We did interviews with--to follow up on this. We had intended also to do community activists, interviews that part fell apart because we couldn't identify in the committee activists. We started searching. We had written this plan to search all the local newspapers around the country. We sent out inquiries to environment of who's been the leading people on this? And just nobody could think of anybody who was an activist [inaudible]. This isn't going to work as the way we decided we would do without that. And we'd come up with case studies and I can tell you already as I'll just take on the later slide. When we asked company officials how often do you hear from the local community activists, the answer pretty much is, "Never." That's what we have trouble locating activists. There just weren't any that we could find. What we found is again very useful to know because the assumption I believe is when you know about companies or natural gas fracking operation, it's like they're all the same. What we find is, no, no. They're not at all the same. They are very different. We categorize them as we looked at their trends over time, over that 10 year period into green, blue, yellow, and brown. OK. Green is the good guys. They are the top of--they decrease their releases but they also decrease their risk. And that was 42 percent of the country, if you will, out of the sample. The blue, they increase their releases but they lower their risk. Let's say how's that possible? 'Cause that the increase for less toxic chemicals for taking toxicity into account. The yellow decrease releases, but actually higher on the risk. And the brown went in the wrong direction you might say on both. They increase their releases and increase the risk. OK. So--I'm going to paint this picture for you. Overall, we have this 61 percent decline in the TRI emissions which make you think the whole country is moving in the right direction. But that's a mix of very different kinds of companies. If we were all to simplify this, half the companies are getting better and half are getting worse. But the ones that are getting better have the bigger decreases. And so EPA can say, "We have this impressive decline over time." I look at it and say, "You still got the problem. You got a whole of bunch of companies that are going in the wrong direction." So, what can you do to turn them around? What do they need? Do they need regulation? Do they need technical assistance, economic assistance? But part of the logic of the book, we have a chapter on leaders and a chapter, you know, players, we thought were--oh, this is neat. We're going to find out the variables that make leaders leaders and the variables to make leaders. It didn't work. We could not identify a class or a variables that--below the low statistics. So, we just couldn't get the R squared. There was no obvious explanation for why there was the difference between the two. In that, we ended by saying somebody else can do this in the future to figure out why there's that difference. And you will see that on this as well. So, here is the safer, riskier, increasing, decreasing. So, you just can substitute chemicals. You can change pollution control equipment. And I think the lesson here is don't think uniformity of company's think typologies. Think different capacities to use information and make progress. And here you can see at shows up here where we asked about environmental expertise and of course we're dealing--we're not dealing with CEOs. And so, we're dealing with the people who actually filed the TRI report. That was our [inaudible]. But we are assume they were sort of speaking for the company. And when we get a follow up interviews, we often got a sense of that, how people would in terms come to in light [inaudible] Procter & Gamble which has agreement. Procter & Gamble is one of those companies, its headquarters makes decisions. And that's in Cincinnati and US. So, we have a lot of local offices of national corporations and sometimes the local offices are making the decision. Sometimes its corporate that makes the decision. And we found differences in somewhere ISO certified. These are a national standards organization for setting management and environmental standards. Some yes, some not. And those did not weren't even seeking to be certified. These I should say are mostly smaller companies. Certifications are very expensive process. So, they were about to do that. Some had an environmental management system. About 41 percent did not. Some TRI contact people were sort of professionals in their fields. Others were not. Some companies intentionally rotated the position among their staff. Others kept the same person in for long periods of time. So, for fracking I think there are--again, that there are bigger companies and was, you know, centralized corporate headquarters making the decision than smaller companies. There a lot of--actually, a lot of fracking and earlier now we're talking about this one, there tens of thousands. It's like in each state. I mean, there was a huge number of fracking operations. Don't assume they're all the same. You know, they can have quite different corporate--motivations. And smaller companies tend to be much more worried about burdens and costs. I got on the phone to one when he couldn't get our questionnaire returned. And I said, "So, can you tell me something about that?" He said, "Yeah." Well, there are only three of us here. So now, if you image this, this is a corporation, it must have tens of thousand employees. Yes, some of them, and others are no. There are really, really small operations. Well, I didn't mention something else I should.
^M00:40:01 The client over time, we could never resolve whether this was because some companies that were big releasers had closed operations here and shipped them to China, or India, or Mexico. We got a hint to that but we just couldn't quite resolve that. But it came up in some of these interviews where small companies said--we said, "Gees, you're not filing the reports anymore." They said, "That's because we stopped manufacturing. It's in China now." So what looks like an improvement in operations maybe shipping it abroad, that is shipping the pollution to other countries and it's hard to resolve that. Given that I have limited time left, I'll say, we also asked during the surveys and then the interviews with corporate officials what made the most difference as they sought to reduce their releases. And, most of their interaction was with facility employees and corporate management, not with communities. And we thought that's odd, because the underlying logic here is communities will rise up in protest once they have this. Hardly anybody mentioned that and it shows up as we did the statistics and as I said, plenty of figures to bucket [phonetic], just nobody was talking about, we did it because of the community protest. One company said, "We want to have an article [phonetic] in the press about a fine from the state agency, and boy we learned never to do that again. It wasn't the community. It was the fact that the local paper published the article and that embarrassed them. And when we asked them what makes the most difference as you manage chemicals that's limiting legal liability and improving performance and so fort? Community relate--desire to improve community relations was way down. At the end of the work, we say, "What you really need is not just disclosure laws, you need regulation to continue." Because many companies said, "We're doing this because we figure sooner or later we're going to be required to do it anyway." And I was able--what we call the anticipated regulation. It wasn't just the disclosure that made the difference, it's that they thought we're going to have to--you know, sooner or later, there's going to be a regulation that's going to compel us anyway so we might as well do it before we get to that point. And I wonder whether that might not be the same fracking, this is an example of--so what I'm summarizing, you can get more details on in the book and here, you can see the community relations as well down. It's a mixture in the end. For some companies, they say, "Yes, we did hear from people. Not regularly but from time to time." But I would say that the broader pattern was no they don't hear from community activists, no, the press never comes by, they release these reports and nothing happens. Nothing happens, that bothered us [inaudible]. That's not the way the designers of this policy thought it would work. They thought there would be some outrage from the community and I can tell you what we found that did not happen much at all across the entire country. I got five minutes, yes. OK, if that's internally--now, we did find that collecting the information even though it didn't mobilize the community, it did make a difference with the regulatory agencies and I'll [inaudible] they really did use the information state regulatory agency and the companies themselves use the information internally to change what they were doing. So in this sense, you can say, "Tier I [phonetic] was a success but not from the reasons that the designers had in mind. It didn't mobilize the community but it did bring about changes and you saw that in the overall." So they were able to get more accurate data, identify goals, to make changes. And by the way, we found most that they were positive or neutral about the program. They were not as negative I think as opponents of regulation and environmental policy [inaudible] soon and let me come back to that. And similar as I said state officials really did use the information. So it fit in to their--even though it's not regulatory, it feeds into the regulatory process because not only that they have some more information to check on what companies are doing so I'm going to skip over that. The implication for fracking I think would be that you might need to have nonprofit organizations and public officials help to inform the public and digest the information because it might pertain to regulatory actions. So a lot will happen, public officials said they didn't take pollution prevention activities, they mounted source reduction efforts, they tried to increase media coverage, they actually brought about meetings. All of these though did not come from the citizens themselves that came from the state officials using the disclosed information to prompt these changes. And I think that's one of the most critical findings of book. People by themselves don't take these actions but making the information public gives the regulator something they didn't have before, right, even though it's a non-regulatory policy. So for fracking I think public officials can take significant actions that individual I think can't. So, I think TRI does work but not in the way people expected it to work. And there's a problem with the metric because releasing pounds of information pass it [phonetic]. When I said pounds, information about pounds of chemicals in the air is not meaningful to most people if you can't put it in terms of a public health risk or something that people can understand. So one conclusion we made is when you release information, it should be current, simple, clear and accessible. You make it complex and--you put chemical formulas down and make it hard to locate material on website, nobody is going to use it. I also think there's a change overtime, we found there was a greater use in many ways by community groups in the first few years of the TRI program, after a while it wasn't news. I still remember a headline in like local paper [inaudible] front page, the whole front page. Each company on what they released. They did that once and later years, even though the same companies were releasing the same amount, it was no longer news. That is they didn't consider news worthy each year was the first time, [inaudible] really after that. Not. I put a link here to the toxic [inaudible] able in conjunction with some other people at Western Washington University put together. If you go to that site, you will find a map of the United States and then you scroll on a state and it will show you individual companies. If you click on a company, you will see either environmental performance over a 10-year period and you will see the risk levels for specific facilities all across the country. It's the only one environmental defense used to do on site that use TRI data and made it available then they stop that dated in almost 10 years ago I think, so this is pretty current. So, information disclosure works best in conjunction with well designed policies. I noted that, I think facilities that don't do well can be assisted. What are the implications for fracking, you know, real fast and then we can talk about this basically as we finish up. I think its clear Chris will speak to this public support exist for shell gas extraction but the public is also very strong in favor of information disclosure. I mean, I think the polls are very clear on that. I think here too I looked at the FracFocus [phonetic] site and I understand many of you did. It's pitiful, right? I mean, it's impossible to know what any of that information is about, process is hard to find. You got to know--you got to search for individual facilities. Most people want to know to do that. So think of a better way. What is it people want to know, and how can you make it easy for them to find it? I think the companies may not be interested in designing it that way so you have to watch. Sara Gosman has a wonderful article that identifies all the state--the new State disclosure policies but I'm a little nervous, each state are quickly adopting policies that are minimally effective, and some would call it race [phonetic] to the bottom. If you get all these policies in place that would be yet and the companies will not be inconvenience [inaudible]. You go what? That doesn't happen. Make sure that there's a periodic reporting, that the information is current, [inaudible] TRI stuff is not if it takes two years to get it out. Basically, they make sure it's everything you want to know is here. In the fracking area lot of companies are certain they can't release any information 'cause it's a trade secret. And you want to be sure that's not the most toxic material that you're not finding [phonetic] about. Where you going to put that information and is it going to be easy to find it? FracFocus is not easy, absolutely not easy. TRI is not easy either. I mean, it should be I'll type in your zip code, you know, and get all the information applies to your neighborhood, that would be easy. It's not like that and it could be. And there are all the problems, the industries are self reporting data. Anybody checking up to see whether what they're reporting is correct? Actually yes, it turns out it's not always. Some environmental groups that actually over companies and done their own measurements and said "It's about 30 percent off compared to what the companies are telling you. Maybe in some cases it's more than 30 percent. You might be surprised to learn that TRI data are not actual measurements, it's an estimate based on computer models, what the companies think they're putting out. That makes you a little nervous, welcome to the club. What you think is this is hard information about actual releases? No, its estimated releases that the companies--not a problem, you might get the same thing in that fracking area. So, is industry going to deal with community concerns? Will there be somebody who will handle that and report on whether it's done well? How is this going to tie you into regulatory agencies? So in short, if you go with information disclosure deal with fracking, bear in mind think somebody needs to be in charge, the information needs to be monitored; you need to make sure companies are reporting accurately the most significant chemicals really are identified and released to the public. And you better watch out for this. State--reinstate [phonetic] are acting quickly if they're afraid something is going to happen at the federal level. And the federal government has been prohibited by congress in [inaudible] this supposed to be a big concern. The feds can come in and then there could be tough, well, maybe not from this congress but from another one.
^M00:50:02 There could be tough regulations that would overlie the state efforts and I think that's one reason. I think we've talked about that already so more or less state [inaudible] I guess. And Chris, you're going to address the issues later on. So one of the questions that were coming back to us I think there is a strong potential for information disclosure, the public clearly does favor it? It could be as we thought with TRI, maybe you don't stop with disclosure, maybe you want regulation, for example on methane releases, and maybe it should be inspectors coming in to make sure more than is now done that things were being done properly. And then the wells are being dug correctly and the--what's call the backflow.
>> Flowback, flowback. That the flowback--and there's an awful lot of water that's coming actually. There is a use of water and there's also contamination of water and in some areas of country has made a real mess and ranchers out in the west of, you know, have lost the access to the water they used to have. So a lot of related issues that have to be dealt with. And it's always I think really the combination of policy too is pretty rare in any policy area in healthcare to environment that one single tool is going to solve all your problems. So think hybrid or combination, you know, diversity of tools. And with that I will leave it to Chris.
[ Applause ]
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> Great. Thank you Mike. And it's such a great setup. And thanks Professor Courant and Professor Rabe for inviting me up to the talk and to follow up. Mike, I think Professor Kraft did a great job of explaining the importance of information and the limits of information, right? Just having information by itself isn't necessarily sufficient to make it useful for the public. And so trying to now think about the context to the work and come and clean the book and where he's placed it, how is that merged with this new issue on our horizon or that has arrived in fracking? And that's why I like to pick up today and talk a little bit about where we are in terms of public perceptions or risk disclosure policy related to hydraulic fracturing. Does the public want the information? Do they care about the information? Are they engaged in the issue? Do they think it's a risk? All those factors are necessary if you're going to use information. And not only the limits of how we construct the information but the willingness to use it and all the things that Mike talked in terms of navigation. So that's why I'm going to take us through a quick 15-minute [inaudible] if you will and then into questions. So just think about this, the emergence of fracking. Just a few years ago, the idea of even having a conversation about fracking, the word fracking was not part of our vernacular in the least, you know, other than some engineers that talked about hydraulic fracturing. The real word, the idea of fracking was not a concept; they would get the giggles of anything when people use that rather than fear or some type of reaction. Today, the term is part of the common vernacular. I think every year when they came up with the word of the year it was among the word of the year either last year or the year before. It's become so popular, it's used in euphemisms, late night comics love it, its part--really it's part of our culture in a lot of ways. And so we're moving in a short period of time again, you know, maybe four or five years, that's pretty dramatic so the concept itself has meaning in how we use it. And so, as much as we talk about it, the public's understanding their knowledge about the issue remains fairly limited and often quite uncertain in terms of the practices. So what I want to do in my short time today is talk about a few things that dovetail with what Mike talked about information, and to look at public opinion on fracking from three perspectives. One, first, is the public engaged? Are they following the issue? Do they think about the issue? If you're going to have information, you have to have an interest in it to begin with. Two, do they think it's risky? And if so, what are the risks and what are the concerns and why would they want to know about the information and underlying demand if you will? And then finally, how do--do they want it disclosed? And if so, where and when and under what conditions? Those are factors I think that make information useful or less useful going on. So that's what I want to talk about in our area of fracking. Just a little bit about the evidence I'm going to use. And in this--the public opinion data that we're going to use is this from the 2012, National Survey on Energy in the Environment, NSEE which is run out of close up just upstairs and the Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College. We did a survey in Michigan and Pennsylvania last fall, looking comprehensively at perspectives about fracking--perspective on fracking. And so, if you are interested at all on the surveys, I don't know if Barry those have been shared. They're on the close up websites still available if you really want to dig into the details and the method which I'm going to skip over but a very available and hopefully you'll find it interesting. The context I think is important about the two states, Pennsylvania, my own state is, frack central if you will. It lies right over the Marcela Shell, probably the richest shell play in the country. It's a highly engaged if you've Pennsylvania or you live in Pennsylvania it is everywhere. It's part of our culture, it's part our media, we'll talk about it on television, on commercials. It's everywhere. It's on the present. So it's a highly engaged fracking state if you will. Michigan is emerging. It's emerging as a fracking state. The shell play isn't quite a extensive. The level of drilling and fracking isn't as high but it's someone that has been at least spending some time in Michigan. I'm sure you've see it within the conversations and discussions and in the media in the state. I've seen from looking at it and talking with Barry. So there are interesting to look at as--from a public opinion survey because there's--the population or a different places with issue. So finding similarities and differences can tell us a little bit about how people are experiencing fracking. So, let's look at it. First of all let's start with engagement. Do people care about it? Do they look at it? Do they think about it? If you're going to want information, you're going to have to first have a knowledge that the issue is even there. If you're going to do anything about it--and as you can see, this is the level of public attention towards the debate in fracking, how closely have we been following the issue? And you could see the majority of both Michiganders and Pennsylvanians say that they have been following the issue in a very closely or somewhat closely. You can see--I'm always amazed when it's--look at this, last year Barry and I that it was--it wasn't all that different for a very highly intensive fracking state and a more limited emerging fracking state. But Pennsylvanians were a little bit more likely, you know, 49--or excuse me, 59 percent said it's very or somewhat closely compared to 48 percent of Michiganders, about a 10 percent gap. But, I think that gives us a sense that the issue really has emerged in the public mind to the point where people were at least paying some attention to it. Crucial if you're going to see that information. You have to have some interest in it to begin with. And I think fracking is now at that stage. It's going to be fun to follow that overtime to see how it changes and if it changes. One other factor that I think is really important and I'm going to come back to this in a little bit, is just your reaction to the term. You know psychologist tell us all the time, how are we primed to accept information, you know, how a frame affect our view on an issue once they're presented later? And I think this is an important question. So if we just ask you, when you hear the word fracking, do you consider it a positive or negative when hear that term now that's become popular? What do you think about it? And you could see almost identical numbers in Michigan and Pennsylvania places at different places and experience with fracking, but the term itself had very similar views. A plurality of both Michiganders and Pennsylvanians see it negatively. I'll come back to that later. I think that's really important how we think about processing and using information. The idea were it starts 45 percent, 31 percent positive. So the starting point for a lot of people that might know nothing about it or think a lot about it is more likely to be negative than positive, and I think that affects how we process information later. OK. So, we know people are thinking about it. They have a general and negative view but what do they think in terms of the risk? And, we can--I wish we have a lot of time to talk about where the research is on this, where the science, the engineering, the public health data [phonetic] which is just emerging and really it's in an early stage when we're thinking about research on fracking. But in many ways, it remains unsettled. You know, we have evidence on both sides of the equation of the safety of the practice. We have some studies that point to concerns. And again, I think a lot is going to play out overtime or early in the process. But I would say that the reaction to most is that, it's unsettled and if you look at reports from [inaudible] or NRC or others, right now it's seems to be in that place. However, if you ask individuals and this is back to our negative, if you ask many individuals if they think it's unsettled, they might say "No" it's because substantial media coverage of the issue might be framing it in certain ways. If you live in--well, I'll come back to living in Pennsylvania in a second, but for individuals that might have seen documentaries like gasoline [phonetic] or [inaudible] which portray the industry extremely negatively and the risk came concerns with fracking in a very emotional way. You might have certain views. If you look--on the other hand a public relation efforts by fracking companies and drilling industry you might get a very different picture out in Pennsylvania. So if you turn on nightly news, almost every night, you are guaranteed to see commercials that focus on the positive benefits of fracking and the safety of it. It's an enormous outlay of expense by the industries to convince Pennsylvanians at the heart of the fracking industry that it's safe, all these fell-good commercials simply [phonetic] produced by Madison Avenue. So there's a framing word going on. So where does the public stands? If you ask them, do most people--did the expert say it safe? Did the expert say it's risky or it is unsettled? Here's what we find. And I think it's pretty interesting, this is--if you frame it [inaudible], which of these statements comes closest to fit your views on fracking? Do most experts think the risks are high? Do most experts think they're low or are they divided on the issue? Most Pennsylvanians think 55 percent that they're divided. Michiganders, 45 percent, a little bit higher, I'm not sure which probably is unexpected year. And a fairly even split on the low and high into the equation that I think most individuals when they perceive the risk right now are unsure about the debate, very much like I think the science and the researches. And I find that interesting, so they--where the public is might be in some ways were the sciences on the issue. Looking more particularly at the risk, what do people consider risks? And I think that's key. You were talking about airborne toxin releases. It's very potent [phonetic] you know, in terms of a both dispersion of chemicals and where the public might interact [phonetic] in risk. For fracking, especially in a place like Pennsylvania, a lot of the concern comes with water, right? Obviously we're sending tons--injecting lots of millions of gallons, billions of gallons of water injected with sand and other chemicals into the surface to produce the gas. Water contamination is--and it is in one place where we saw significant differences. Pennsylvanians are almost twice as likely as Michiganders to sight the primary risk, what the most important risk is in terms of the practice to the water contamination, we also have ground water in there. That's the framing if you will where people in Pennsylvania don't think bubble is a lot of these sites, there's a lot of questions about the localized effect of air quality. This is your risk is often focused on the water aspects of it. So we'll come back to that a little bit. I want to show a quick serious slides here that I think are interesting to look about perceptions of risk, and some different framings that we could do regarding the issue. So, if we ask individuals, we give a 10 points scale, 0 to 10, and we say, what is the probability that there are serious health risks for people living near drilling operations were zero, over here, zero is extremely unlikely and 10 is virtually certain that there are risks, blue is Michigan, red is Pennsylvania. This is what we see. You know skewed to the positive side and that should not be surprising given the overall negative reaction towards the term fracking, you see a little bit of difference. Pennsylvania--actually I find this interesting, you know, of course five is the median in the mode [phonetic] answer for our distribution. But you see a little bit on the extremes, Michiganders a little bit more likely to the be on either extreme, perhaps, you know, based on not so much on experience but on the framings that we've talked about before. So, I find that interesting. But we do a little experiment. We split our sample in both Pennsylvania and Michigan when we do our survey, and we give them two different framings. And one is we say, what if [inaudible] to this, what if we--the lead environmental agency in your state came back with a conclusive report, a conclusive report that said that the risks of--health risks are very low associated with fracking? How would you rate that same question that we asked on 0 to 10 scale? And you could see--and this is what I find fairly interesting back to disclosure which is fun to start framing the questions that Michael and his colleagues came up with, you can see a little bit of movement skewing towards the extremely unlikely side, but not dramatic, right? It moves, it moves down and get more people that answer in this category than they did in the unframed original question. Look what happens when you frame it that the lead environmental agency comes back and says there is a high risk, and that the slide, moves much more in the direction of individual saying it's virtually certain there is a risk. So, same agencies, right, same framing all up in random sample that we did in the structure of the experiment. You can see how it moves things in the direction that people are I think primed to immediately expect that the risks are higher and would give in that framing, which I think is interesting for disclosure, how do we react to disclosure, how do we think about disclosure. I thought it was an interesting experiment part of our research on this. So, what do they think about disclosure themselves? What do the actual question when we ask Michiganders and Pennsylvanians about disclosure, and a little bit of context? And Michael has, you know, set this up nicely. There are no federal regulations requiring disclosure of chemicals for the fracking process. There are none right now. There were one at [phonetic] natural gas industry is exempt from the Emergency Planning and Community Rights-to-Know at EPCRA that Michael talked about, but it doesn't apply right there, so there's no standards if you will. The Energy Policy Act in 2005, Energy Policy, major federal legislation also exempted fracking fluids from federal disclosure law. So, the fluids that are used on the list are not required. Therefore they turned this over to the states. They turn this over to the state as Michael talked about FracFocus, some states have lined up with FracFocus as their source for this, as a group to try and put up the information. But largely again it's depending on the states. And the states have different rules. So what do--what does the public think about this? And here's what we find. If you ask individuals, what I would say is a framing that is more pro-public health. And here's the question. Natural gas drilling company should have to disclose the chemicals they inject underground as part of the fracking process, because the public has a right to know about any health risk that might be posed by these chemicals, we find overwhelming support. The public--largely 81 percent, you know, strongly agree, high intensity, and then we come together with 90 percent as micro reference, if people aren't unified that the companies should have to disclose. And we say, "Well, maybe that framing is a little on the pro-health side, so we have to frame it in a different way. And we do. We take the question, and we say "Well, natural gas drilling company should not have to disclose the chemicals they inject on the ground as part of the fracking process, because they contend [phonetic] that those chemicals are trade secrets, that if it's a trade secret we can't give away our trade secrets, that would be against our business interest to do so. And you can see that largely there's no movement. There's no movement.
>> Slight shifts, but anyway we frame it at least in this original experiment, public demands disclosure. Now the big question is what do we do with that, that information, all the things that come and clean talked about I think are important. Couple last slides are now wrapped up. This question I think gives you a sense about back to Michael's question. Well, if--the idea is disclosure where it comes from, do the companies give us clean information, do they give us good information? Where are we going to get information on this from? So we ask the public, where would you turn first for reliable information? Where would you go first for information about the practices of natural gas drilling either in Pennsylvania or in Michigan? And what we find--and this might be back to the original positive, negative, right? Where would people go or trust the most? Oops sorry, environmental groups, in both states. The number one source, where they would turn to first is environmental groups, much--you know, in terms of the industry itself, a lot of the source of disclosure much less support for and I was--you know, even though the states are primary and dealing with disclosure and setting the rules, the states scored fairly low, in Pennsylvania significantly lower than Michigan, you know, related to possible experiences with the issue. So, some interesting frames. Well, I'll wrap up there. Michael, here are some really good questions to think about and you're free to hear [phonetic] the question. You know, the public is increasing aware, every survey we conduct doing this in Pennsylvania for a number of years, time series, probably it's more engage, more aware at least on the surface about the issue and they believe there is division on the research about the health effects. You know, the framing I think that was we'll see so much in so much of the literature [phonetic] matters in terms of fracking just like a dozen in any issue.
^M01:09:58 And ultimately, while the public desires strong support for disclosure, what's that going to mean in practice? And I think that's beautiful set up and Michael has let us what is it going to mean if we really do establish this practice and who's going to use it and then at what levels. So, with that, I will stop, hopefully I'll finish close enough to time.
[ Applause & Inaudible Remark ]
>> Thank you both Mike and Chris. We're going to open this up as Mike and Chris to come up to the panel. And as I mentioned to outset we'll go through sequence of questions. Sara Gosman, the floor is yours.
>> I assumer we have an operational mic.
>> All right. I have now operational mic. So, thank you both. This was a really interesting set of presentations and I learned a lot about information disclosure and what's happening in Michigan in terms of--in Pennsylvania, in terms of what people are thinking. So, one of the things I've been thinking about is this question that you both raised, which is what are people supposed to do with the information. So, I love this quote from a Texas regulator when Texas passed it disclosure policy that regulators says than Texans will know more about what goes into hydro factory [phonetic] fluid and they know about the ingredients and their sodas, right? So, this is--you know, this is the next step forward. And in fact these-- on FracFocus and a lot of these disclosure policies we have a list of the chemical constituents, we have maximum concentrations in the fluid we have the product names, we have the product purposes that seems on the face of it to be a fair amount of information related to the chemical use. But then I look at some of the conclusions that you draw Mike about the TRIs, to me they seem more on the regulatory side. That information informs the state federal regulators, informs companies themselves by actually requiring them to collect the information. So, that could be done within a regulatory system, the system we already have, right, as part of permitting. And it's the public peace that isn't there. And so, I wonder whether really where all of these is going even though the public has a deep desire for disclosure whether we should be heading that straight up regulatory route here and not on disclosure. And let me sort of make one more argument about that which is, you know, given that we have a lot of scientific uncertainty here about what the risk ultimately is, I think there're been some arguments, I'm not sure whether I agree with this but I'm interested in what you think that by disclosing information in this way without really knowing about the risk, disclosure actually create more fear, and I think Mike you actually bought this up on one of your slides, then it does do any good in terms of public education. So, again maybe leads to the question of whether we really should be in the business of regulating the precise chemicals going in, and their concentrations rather than through disclosure. So, that's my provocative question I hope.
>> OK. I will go first?
>> Well, when I tried to indicate this, I think a lot of the information that's released whether it's TRI or for fracking is sort of by definition, pretty tactical information about chemicals, and concentrations, and dispersal patterns. I don't think the average person is in a very good position to make sense of that so they need the help of state agencies and environmental groups that was entering the [inaudible] that people actually trust the environmental groups more than the other. Now, that's not surprising because I've send many other surveys that says people trust scientists [inaudible], people who view this neutral they're not in the business, the flip side of that is--and I didn't dwell on it but it came out on our interviews with corporate officials that make--they fear that if you release information that makes people nervous when they shouldn't be nervous, because they believe the risk are low, they've now created another problem. They have a fear for the public demanding that company have changed their ways when in fact there's really not a problem. In the book we saw an example of the national study that was released, that was really badly done and it said there were toxic chemicals on school grounds all over the country. And one of my former students actually head of the Wisconsin office that monitors [inaudible]. And he said they were immediately called then to go start testing schools all around the [inaudible] and we found nothing, nothing. But communities all across the country were getting upset that now they had a report that said their kids were being exposed to toxic chemical in schools. So, the other side of this is you don't want to unduly alarm the public if the risks really are minimal. And I think you want to have a disclosure policy, I think the particulars [phonetic] of it will have to be discussed every state might feel a little different [phonetic]. In my mind the proprietor chemicals shouldn't be a reason not to disclose. There're probably ways you can do this without releasing too many trade secrets. I think it'd be a very helpful, I have expert panels at the state level to make some decisions about what to disclose, how to disclose it, what the format is, where people can turn to if the have a question about--and it's got to be [inaudible] so that people will have some sense of what's close enough to them that it makes a difference. Would I be concerned about fracking 100 miles away? Probably not. A block away? Yeah. But maybe there's nothing wrong and people have to have some sources to turn to. And I really think a combination of regulation and disclosure and designing the disclosure well so that you get what you are getting and don't make people fearful of everything that's going on if it's not--if there's not a reason to be fearful.
>> [inaudible] almost of everything that Michael said Sara. And I think your framing is really cool because of the issue of is it a substitute, right? Are we just using it as a substitute rather than a complement for regulatory policies? And you touched on it really nicely Michael, how do you tailor that in a way that it's not--that it's useful and productive but not a substitute for regulation which it can't be, right? Which--necessity. So a great question.
>> Professional Courant?
>> Yes. So I [inaudible]. I'm going to move [inaudible] quickly towards regulation. But basically it seems to me [inaudible] it's the true enlightening act--
>> Yeah, yeah.
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> And you might want to have [inaudible].
>> Yeah, sure.
>> So there was this notion that [inaudible] mortgage base of reliable evaluation that can be summarized the benefits for one specific requirement. Most of these [inaudible] too much to ask for but could you imagine as part of the disclosure policy [inaudible] requiring disclosure requiring actually [inaudible] of these experts together [inaudible] and construct a set of summary [phonetic] measures, you know, maybe [inaudible] that people would come to know what they mean and allow them to change overtime and recognize that the post-processing, the original source data requires such measures is going to be processed, right? This is a world [phonetic] program--
>> --it's a very good idea.
>> On a couple of slides I have idea about selecting the right metrics and so on. I think this gets to the heart of it. If you're using lots of different chemicals as many companies are and I'm not sure of what number we're talking about with fracking, but let's suppose there's a dozen different chemicals, and maybe it changes from time to depending on the formation. I guess that would be the reason for switching chemicals. So it would help if we had some chemical engineers, and chemists, and policy people, and law people. But typically those with expertise in chemical risk of public health and to the environment both sides of that to come up with some summary way that everybody can agree with. And that may be a challenge, right? One reason TRI never came up with that is that industry in the EPA [phonetic] probably could never reach agreement on what their proper metric would be. That's one reason they decided pounds of chemicals which isn't a very useful metric. But maybe we could do better. And I think the risk level is the way to go. People don't--list of chemicals and names that people don't understand and pounds doesn't cut it. If you could come with an agreed-upon metric about risk to public health, maybe you got to, you know, five--it's like the old homeland security measure, you have like five colors or something, if it's red, you know, you need to talk to somebody or you do a radon test if you're above four [inaudible] you know, you got an issue to deal with. Something that people can make sense of. List of chemicals, I don't think anybody make sure, you know, those with chemical degrees are going to find that very helpful.
>> Agreed. Great. Really well-said.
>> Yeah I'm afraid--
>> Yeah sort of that thing, closing hour.
>> There's much more we could discuss. Want to just simply know that this is one even in this state that it's moving in some very interesting policy directions. There's a regulatory proposal from the state agency to embrace the very FracFocus program that Professor Kraft was talking about. We may be looking at direct democracy and valid proposition and legislation is going forward in the state legislature in a year which 41 states have enacted some form of fracking legislation. So we will be continuing that conversation as a community, as a center. And stay tuned for further events in the winter. Before we close, please join me in thanking both Professor Kraft and Professor Courant.
[ Applause ]