California is one step closer to requiring energy companies to disclose to state regulators the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”
On Wednesday, the state Senate passed S.B. 4. As we have reported previously, the bill requires, among other things, the disclosure to state regulators of potential trade secrets in the form of fracking fluid chemicals. The regulators may, in turn, disclose this information to first responders and health care professionals in the event of an emergency. The information would not, however, be publicly accessible. The bill contains stiff civil penalties for noncompliance.
As we discussed in our original post on this issue, California’s law adds to the uncertainty associated with patchwork fracking disclosure rules, particularly because California has significant coastal and inland shale deposits that will undoubtedly be a prime target for oil and gas companies.
The bill will now be considered by the state Assembly. If that chamber passes the measure with no amendments, it then goes to Gov. Jerry Brown. If the Assembly does amend it, the bill returns to the Senate.