Halliburton’s Dirty Secrets Pumped Into WV?
Monday, April 8, 2013
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Landowners, citizen groups and environmentalists are concerned about legislation now before the House of Delegates that would allow drilling companies to keep secret the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Outreach coordinator Chuck Wyrostok, West Virginia Sierra Club, said the industry, led by the huge oilfield service company, Halliburton Corp., has convinced lawmakers in several states to treat the chemical formulas as trade secrets.
The drilling service company wants to do the same thing is West Virginia, Wyrostok warned. That is acting with contempt for the people living around Marcellus natural gas drilling, he said.
"It's pretty ludicrous to say, 'We're gonna pump secret chemicals into the ground, and we're gonna transport them through your towns, past your schools. And I'm sorry, you just can't know what they are,'" Wyrostok said.
Senate Bill 243 inserts what Wyrostok and others call the "Halliburton dirty-secrets amendment" into a bundle of rules proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection. It has passed the Senate and is now before the House Judiciary Committee.
Drillers use hundreds of chemicals to help break up the rock deep underground and get the gas out. Halliburton spokesmen have said the company wants to keep competitors from learning its formulas. But critics say it is more likely they don't want landowners and residents to know.
There are practical reasons for not treating the fracking formulas like CIA secrets, Wyrostok pointed out.
"Say a truck going through a town in West Virginia crashes or ruptures, and no one knows what the chemicals are. How do the first responders react to that? They don't know what's in that truck."
Landowners have a hard time testing their well water for contaminates if they don't know what they're looking for, he said, noting that doctors would have to ask the companies what chemicals might be making their patients sick. No one knows how long the company might take to respond, Wyrostok said, or even if it would. Plus, if the doctors find out what the chemicals are, the new rule would forbid them from telling anyone, he added.
"Basically, it's a gag order," he said. "I don't think the medical community is gonna go along with that. Doctors in Pennsylvania are suing the state over it."
Information about the status of SB 243 is available at http://www.legis.state.wv.us.
get more stories like this via email
College presidents testified before a congressional committee Tuesday on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led …
There are some bright spots in beefing up local news coverage, but a new report says in North Dakota and elsewhere, there are still big concerns …
Health and Wellness
Holiday stress is a concern for most people, but when you mix in travel plans and chronic health issues, those worries might be elevated. A …
A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds the repayment process for federal student loans has been filled with errors…
More than 3,500 foster children are available for adoption in Ohio, and state agencies are connecting with local faith congregations to help recruit …
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife just announced a marine warden discovered an endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle dead, drowned …
Health and Wellness
The state's largest county has just opened the new CARE Court system, designed to get help for severely mentally ill people in Los Angeles. CARE …
A Knoxville-based environmental group is voicing health and safety concerns about the development of a landfill for radioactive waste from the Y12 Ura…