Stephen Williams: Suspicious secrets

May 11, 2013 

Suspicious secrets

Reading about Halliburton’s seeming undue influence with the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission (“Vote on fracking rule delayed,” May 4) set me to thinking: Why should the fracking companies need to keep their formulas secret?

A company has exclusive rights to a given parcel of land – it has no competitor on any parcel of land for which it has purchased rights. The competition is in bidding for fracking rights – not in having a slightly superior formula for the chemicals being used.

The public not only has an interest in knowing what’s going into the ground that overwhelms these companies’ concerns for their trade secrets but is also best-served by all fracking companies having access to every other company’s formula, so we’re assured that the most efficient and safest formulas are used. The trade secret argument appears to be a red herring, an argument the industry pleads in hope of preventing the public from knowing how frightening are the chemicals they’re putting into the ground.

It’s outrageous that the mining commission has such low regard for public safety and such high regard for the financial interest of the fracking companies that it could be persuaded by the red herring of “trade secrets.”

Stephen Williams


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