Environmentalists Take Fracking Fight to Court in Wyoming

Three environmentalists groups filed a lawsuit last week claiming the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission went too far in protecting companies from revealing the chemical content of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing.

The Billings Gazette notes that few, if any cases, cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing have been confirmed.

But the EPA issued a report last year contending that fracking may have polluted groundwater near Pavillion, Wyoming.

From the Billings Gazette:

Wyoming's open records law provides an exception for public disclosure of trade secrets. The groups say the commission has repeatedly allowed companies to invoke the exception - on flimsy grounds - to keep fracking fluid ingredients out of the public realm.

"The law requires that a company provide detailed support for its claim. Unfortunately, the commission has approved almost every trade secret request it has received regardless of how unsupported or overly broad these trade secret requests are," said Laura Beaton, an attorney with Earthjustice, which is working with the groups.

Meanwhile, as I reported during the CERA Week energy conference in Houston a few weeks ago, many oil and gas industry executives are calling for more transparency across the industry into shale drilling process.

I'll be writing more about this in a special report on shale gas and its impact on manufacturing in the April issue of IW.

Here's what a couple prominent oil and gas industry execs from Oklahoma had to say last year about the potential fallout from the EPA's fracking study:

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