Judge Sides with Wyoming in Fracking Chemical Suit

Judge Sides with Wyoming in Fracking Chemical Suit by Associated Press, March 25, 2013, Time US
A judge in Casper has sided with the state of Wyoming and ruled against environmentalists who sought to make public the lists of ingredients that go into hydraulic fracturing fluids. Environmental groups had requested the ingredient lists from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, arguing that the public needs to know what chemicals companies are putting underground. Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking has ruled that Wyoming’s state oil and gas supervisor was correct to withhold the ingredient lists as protected trade secrets. … Attorneys for Wyoming and oilfield services company Halliburton argued that public disclosure could allow competing companies to reverse-engineer fracking fluids.

Wyoming fracking disclosure authority upheld by Mark Wilcox, March 25, 2013, Wyoming Business Report
Public knowledge of hydraulic-fracturing fluid ingredients for Wyoming producers will remain underground after a Casper judge ruled against environmentalists who want to get Wyoming to publicly release info collected from producers about fracking ingredients. Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking ruled that because the ingredients could be considered trade secrets, the Wyoming State Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has the authority to keep the ingredient lists secret. A policy instituted by a former supervisor of the commission in August 2010 stipulated that though companies needed to fully disclose ingredients to the commission, the trade secrets would not become public. “The court finds that the WOGCC supervisor acted reasonably when he established [the policy] … and that policy is in accordance with the Wyoming Public Records Act,” Wilking wrote in her order. Still, she recognized the validity of the petitioners’ claims that fracking fluids could be dangerous and ought to be public knowledge. “The court feels these competing concerns are best addressed through legislative action or further rule promulgation and are not properly within the court’s purview,” she wrote. Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Wyoming Outdoor Council were among the groups who brought the legal complaint urging public knowledge of fracking ingredients. … Gov. Matt Mead voiced his pleasure in the decision.

Wyoming judge: Fracking fluid formulas are trade secrets by Boulder Weekly, March 25, 2013
The state of Wyoming has won in a lawsuit against environmentalists hoping to find out what’s in fracking fluid. The state, representing the interests of oil and gas companies, argued that the formulas of fracking fluid should be protected as trade secrets. District Judge Catherine Wilking of Natrona County, which includes Casper, Wyo., ruled the fluids are trade secrets and should not be disclosed to the public.

Wyoming Wins Fracking Lawsuit When Judge Sides With State Oil And Gas Conservation Commission by Mead Gruver, March 25, 2013, Huffingtonpost.com

Judge sides with Wyoming in fracking chemical suit by Mead Gruver, March 25, 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek
Environmental groups had requested the ingredient lists from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, arguing that the public needs to know what chemicals companies are putting underground. They were denied on the grounds that the lists are trade secrets that may be withheld under Wyoming’s open records law.

Judge sides with Wyoming, against groups, in lawsuit over disclosing frack fluid ingredients byMead Gruver, The Associated Press, March 25, 2013, The Winnipeg Free Press
The lawsuit was filed against the commission by the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and OMB Watch. Oilfield services company Halliburton intervened on the state’s side. “We continue to believe we have strong claims, and we’re still concerned the Wyoming oil and gas commission is withholding this information from the public,” said Shannon Anderson, an attorney for the resource council. An appeal was an option, she said. … Environmentalists say public knowledge of the chemicals can help landowners near oil and gas projects know what types of pollution to test for in their groundwater. Such testing targeted at certain chemicals can be done before or while drilling occurs and help to establish that well water — at least at that point — is not polluted by those chemicals. … Wilking wrote that both positions have “substantial” merit. “However the court feels these competing concerns are best addressed through legislative action, or further rule promulgation and are not properly within the court’s purview,” Wilking wrote. She ruled that the state oil and gas supervisor in charge of the commission as a state agency acted reasonably in evaluating requests for trade secret exemptions under the fracking disclosure rule. The environmental groups failed to demonstrate that the supervisor didn’t properly follow the rule or state law, she wrote.

Judge Sides With State, Industry in Fracking Suit by K2 News, March 25, 2013

Wyo. Judge Upholds Fracking Trade Secret Exemptions by Keith Goldberg, March 25, 2013, Law360
A Wyoming state court judge on Thursday nixed a bid by environmental groups to force the state’s oil and gas regulator to disclose all the chemicals used by Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and several other companies in hydraulic fracturing operations.

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