January 17, 2017

Club opposes fracking-secrecy bills

stop-frackingThe Sierra Club has opposed two fracking bills in the legislature because each carries language that would put into statute trade-secret protections for fracking fluids; that is, that would allow oil and gas companies to withhold information about what chemicals they are injecting into the ground. Each also carries within that trade-secrets language a section that would create a gag on physicians that could delay or prevent dissemination of information about health hazards associated with fracking fluids.

Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity and at Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles have also been overt opponents of the trade-secret and physician-gag pieces of the bills. Sierra Club national staff, including the legal team, have helped us develop our arguments, and Sierra Club California staff, interns, volunteers, and general activist members have all played a role in making sure the legislature knows where we stand on the trade-secrets issue.

One of the bills we have opposed, AB 7 (Wieckowscki), came up in Assembly Natural Resources Committee on June 12 and failed to get the votes it needed to get out. That means Sierra Club and our allies carried the day, thanks to all the help from so many parts of the Club.

If you have a chance, please send a hand-written thank-you note or quick call to Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro, who chairs that committee, and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, who sits on the committee. Their “not voting” positions were important to kill the bill, and they care about what Sierra Club members think. You can find contact information for these legislators at http://assembly.ca.gov.

The other bill with same trades-secret problem is Sen. Fran Pavley’s SB 4, which has passed through the Senate and is now positioned to go through the Assembly committee and floor processes.

Below is our most recent oppose letter on AB 7. It explains our reasons for our trade-secret position.

June 10, 2013

The Honorable Bob Wieckowski
California Assembly
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: AB 7 (Wieckowski)—Fracking—Opposed

Dear Assemblymember Wieckowski:

Thank you for the discussion you held last week regarding AB 7. Sierra Club California will continue to oppose the bill and I am sending this letter to highlight my organization’s opposition to the bill’s trade secrets provisions, the reasons for that opposition, and proposed bill language for an alternative approach to the trade secrets issue.

To be clear, Sierra Club California’s opposition to the trade secrets provisions in your AB 7 reflects the experience with fracking policy that Sierra Club members and staff members have had around the country. We have not come to this position quickly or lightly. It is borne of experience trying to ensure that fracking does not endanger public health or the environment, including water and air quality.

We oppose trade secrets protections for fracking fluids because such protections

a.) hinder the public’s ability to provide informed oversight of regulatory agency performance;

b.) prevent an accurate assessment of pre-fracking baseline conditions of soil and water and post-fracking results; and

c.) run contrary to other laws related to emissions into the environment.

On this last point, it’s worth noting that some have argued that fracking fluids should not be treated any differently from any other trade secret protected product. This assumes that products that emit toxics into the environment are the same as any other product. In fact, they are not. Numerous federal statutes explicitly disclaim trade secret exemptions for chemicals introduced into the environment, such as effluent discharges under the Clean Water Act and air emissions under the Clean Air Act. Because of the significant risk of chemicals used in fracking escaping to ground or surface water, and because soil contamination is inherent in their use, comprehensive disclosure is similarly necessary here.

Sierra Club urges that you eliminate the trade secrets provisions in AB 7, including the physicians’ gag, and instead amend into the bill language that will proactively protect the public’s right to know. Here is proposed language to replace Sec. 3203 (c):

An operator or supplier must disclose the chemical composition of additives as required by subsection (b), and the division shall make this information public, notwithstanding any provision of law relating to trade secrets or confidential business information, including but not limited to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Civil Code § 3426 et seq., the Public Records Act, Government Code § 6254.7 (d), and Section 1060 of the Evidence Code.

We ask you to provide this direction to ensure the public has needed access to the information to protect public health and the environment

Sincerely,

Kathryn Phillips
Director
[Sierra Club California]

Cc: Assembly Natural Resources Committee Members and Staff

Comments

  1. Wonderful paintings! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the web. Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this post upper! Come on over and discuss with my website . Thanks =)

  2. Hello there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  3. Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

  4. I am continuously searching online for posts that can benefit me. Thx!

  5. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  6. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

  7. Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a honest price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  8. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking to exchange methods with other folks, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  9. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  10. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  11. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. However just imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this site could certainly be one of the very best in its field. Amazing blog!

  12. Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  13. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.

  14. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Kudos

  15. I just intend to tell you that I am new to online blogging and certainly valued your site. Quite possibly I am inclined to remember your blog post . You truly have magnificent article blog posts. Acknowledge it for discussing with us your very own domain write-up

  16. Hi! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

  17. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

  18. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering issues with your website. It appears as though some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before. Kudos

  19. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  20. Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  21. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Many thanks

  22. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice procedures and we are looking to trade techniques with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

  23. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  24. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog. You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Kudos!

  25. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for beginner blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

Speak Your Mind

*