In today’s article in the Texas Tribune, Texas Could Require Disclosure of Drilling Chemicals, Scott Anderson, EDF, made some interesting claims about HB 3328, the hydraulic fracturing disclosure that is not so much about disclosure.
He also said:
Hang on a minute! I blogged about this bill on Wednesday and said the bill is inadequate, which it is. I’m not the only one who noticed that real disclosure is missing from this bill. Some impacted folks didn’t like it one bit.
So, I sent a letter to the Tribune, and I hope they will print it because this is damn important.
In fact, H.B. 3328 allows industry to claim transparency without being transparent.
That’s because Keffer would allow industry to broadly claim many of their hydraulic fracturing toxics as “trade secrets.” Adding insult to injury, water users and landowners would be unable to challenge these industry “secret” claims.
In short, the trade secrecy provisions would contravene the ostensible purpose of the bill — informing the public about potential risks from drilling toxics.
Even Wyoming is doing better than that for landowners and water users. In Wyoming, the industry trade secrecy claims are left to the discretion of the regulator. So they’re subject to appeal and petition just like any other action of the agency.
H.B. 3328 may originate intending to aid the cause of disclosure, but in the end what it really does is enshrine in Texas state law the drilling industry’s penchant for secrecy.