October 18, 2013. According to staff in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the October 25, 2013 meeting of the Protection of Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information Study Group has been cancelled. The study group will next meet in November.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the study group has been working to resolve the controversy over a draft Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) rule on disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid. Last spring, the MEC’s Environmental Standards Committee approved a draft rule requiring drilling operators to disclose all chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid to DENR, but limiting the amount of information provided to the public on trade secret chemicals. The controversy arose because oil and gas industry representatives objected to routine disclosure of trade secret information even to state regulators. The industry preferred alternative language allowing the drilling operator to withhold specific information on trade secret chemicals unless DENR needed the information to respond to a threat to the environment or public health.