Litigation continues to better identify the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing
“We’re pleased the Court recognized that the Oil and Gas Commission has to fully and rationally justify its use of trade secrets exemptions before it can hide fracking chemical information from public review,” stated Marilyn Ham, Resource Council Board Member from Laramie County, Wyoming. “We’re looking forward to the next stage of the case and hopefully to getting better information out to the public on what chemicals are used in fracking operations.
“It is important for public health and safety that citizens have timely access to what chemicals are used in fracking operations on and near our land,” stated Kristi Mogen, Resource Council Board Member who lives near fracking operations in Converse County, Wyoming. “We applaud Powder River Basin Resource Council for their hard work in bringing this case and for their dedication to empowering the residents of Wyoming.”
“If chemical information is being improperly labeled a trade secret that means it is not available as public information as Wyoming’s hydraulic fracturing regulations intended,” stated Shannon Anderson of the Resource Council.
“We appreciate that the court took seriously the need for the public to know what chemicals are being injected during oil and gas production. We hope that now the state agency will do likewise,” stated Bruce Baizel of EARTHWORKS.
“The Wyoming Supreme Court affirmed that the public’s right to know is paramount under state law. If fracking operators don’t want to reveal what chemicals they use, they will have to prove that the chemicals are trade secrets, which means they shouldn’t be able to capriciously keep secrets from the public about dangerous chemicals,” said Katherine O’Brien, an attorney with Earthjustice, which represents the plaintiffs. “We will continue the fight in the trial court to ensure that the identity of fracking chemicals—which threaten the water supplies that communities depend upon—cannot be kept secret from the public.”
“As we’ve noted in the past, the recipe for Coca-Cola is a trade secret, but the ingredients are not, and they’re all listed on the can,” said Sean Moulton with the Center for Effective Government. “We’re glad that the Wyoming Supreme Court agrees that this critical chemical information should be disclosed to the state’s residents and public interest organizations,” stated Sean Moulton, Director, Open Government Policy, Center for Effective Government.
The decision is available at: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions/2014WY37.pdf