A judge in Casper has sided with the state of Wyoming and ruled against environmentalists who sought to obtain lists of the 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. Specially formulated lubricants are used in fracking, which involves
pumping water, fine sand and fracking fluids underground to split open
oil- and gas-bearing rocks.
Wyoming became one of the first states to require companies to
disclose to state regulators the ingredients in hydraulic fracturing
chemicals. The goal was to help the regulators track the source of any
groundwater contamination that might occur at or near a drilling site.
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 is not polluted by
The environmentalists' request for the chemical composition of fracking fluids was originally denied on the grounds that the information constituted trade secrets that
may be withheld under Wyoming's open records law. Natrona County
District Judge Catherine Wilking then upheld the denial, ruling that the
state official who withheld the information acted reasonably.
"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