A coalition of environmental and landowner groups has appealed a decision that individual ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing can be protected under Wyoming's trade secrets law.
The group, which includes the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Wyoming Outdoor Council, appealed the decision to the Wyoming Supreme Court, according to a Wednesday statement.
"Groundwater belongs to the people of Wyoming," outdoor council attorney Bruce Pendery said in a prepared statement. "While water rights can be granted for its use, we all have an interest — and a responsibility — to ensure that groundwater is protected and kept clean not only for those of us living here today but for the people who might need it after we're gone."
Wyoming in 2010 became the first state to mandate disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a process in which water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the ground to break the earth and free up trapped oil and natural gas.
But the law also included a provision allowing the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to shield certain ingredients from the public, if deemed "trade secrets."
The groups sued after the commission declined to release information about several hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- operations.
At a January hearing, the groups argued that publicly disclosing individual ingredients do not constitute revealing trade secrets. Intervening industry attorneys argued the opposite, saying reverse engineering and industry competition make proprietary information worth protecting.
A judge in March ruled in favor of the commission and the industry.
The environmental and landowner groups today appealed the decision to the state's Supreme Court. A date for arguments has not been set.
"Wyoming’s groundbreaking fracking chemical disclosure rule amounts to very little if companies can shield information as ‘trade secrets’ nearly at will," Earthjustice attorney Laura Beaton said in a prepared statement. "We are asking the Wyoming Supreme Court to enforce the broad public disclosure mandate of the Public Records Act and the fracking chemical disclosure rule."