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Bills establish trade secret status for ‘fracking’ chemicals

By a 4-3 vote, the House General Laws Subcommittee #2 recommended the reporting of HB 1678 (Robinson), a measure that provides “trade secret” status for chemicals that might be used in the process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. VACo testified against the bill because of it would prevent full disclosure of all chemicals and chemical mixes used in the fracking process.

HB 1678 is likely to be considered again by the full House General Laws Committee when it meets next Tuesday afternoon (January 17) 30 minutes after adjournment of the House floor session. The identical Senate companion measure to HB 1678 is SB 1292 (Chafin), which has been referred to the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee.

Two related companion bills, HB 1679 (Robinson) and SB 1291 (Chafin), establish procedures for the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to follow when approving as trade secrets chemicals used in the fracking process. Both bills also grant the DMME’s Director the authority to release information about such chemicals in certain emergency situations. VACo also opposes HB 1679 and SB 1291.

HB 1679 has been referred to the Natural Resources Subcommittee of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. SB 1291 has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.

VACo urges its members to contact their Delegates and Senators to oppose the above bills. These bills are likely to be considered in their respective committees next week

VACo’s position statement regarding chemicals used in the fracking process: “VACo supports the disclosure of all chemicals used in the “fracking” process prior to their use.”

VACo Members – Share your thoughts on FlagPoll.

VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE

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