Similar fracking chemical regulations have been adopted in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming. Environmental groups in Wyoming are pushing for stronger regulations that would give a complete chemical disclosure to the public. Environmental groups in Wyoming say that too many chemicals are confidential. The environmental groups would like to see a complete list of chemicals used during the entire fracking process.
Wyoming was the first state that made drilling companies give chemical disclosures to the public; however, the state allowed the drilling companies to keep a few of the chemicals a secret by classifying them as confidential commercial information or trade secrets.
“There are 150 chemicals in Wyoming that these companies have asked to be protected under trade secret status,” said Steve Jones, watershed program protection attorney for the Wyoming Outdoor Council.
“Since these chemicals pose a potential threat to ground water and to people’s heath, we need to know what they are.”
Since states, Pennsylvania and Texas have adopted similar standards of disclosure; the courts challenge in Wyoming may have broader implications as the other states. The effort to disclose information was after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed earlier this month to work with Wyoming after a study linked fracking to a polluted aquifer.
“If companies can’t get the benefit of their intellectual capital, we don’t get the benefit of their innovation,” said energy company adviser Jason Hutt of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Texas.
Wyoming’s debate over fracking chemicals has been stirred up since the release of December’s EPA draft report suggesting fracking fluids likely contaminated the aquifer in Pavillion.