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Wyoming Supreme Court WiIll Hear Fracking Fluid Contents Argument

Oct 18, 2013

There is no argument among environmental activists that the contents of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluid is toxic and poses dangers to the environment and public health.

The industry, on the whole, disagrees but has been more than hesitant to disclose what exactly comprises fracking fluid. If activists have their way in Wyoming, details of what is in fracking fluid will be released to the public.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, Wyoming State Supreme Court justices will hear a case in which fracking drillers and the state are under pressure to disclose the contents of fracking fluid. Each is resisting, and the case has reached the state's high court for resolution.

The environmental groups say that they and the public have a right to know what was disclosed to the state from fracking companies regarding the contents of drilling fluid. Arguments are scheduled to begin on Nov. 20, according to AP's report.

Wyoming is one of many states hosting a debate on the safety and viability of fracking drilling for natural gas or oil. We've been reporting on the many concerns that environmental advocates and people living closest to fracking operations have shared since the technology started being used on a widespread basis across the country.

Fracking drilling is conducted by ushering a drill through an underground horizontal well shaft. The drill is guided by fracking drilling fluid and contains hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water, sand, and a mix of several hundred chemicals. Our previous reports indicate that perhaps dozens of those chemicals are known toxins.

Opponents of fracking drilling say that the process itself combined with shoddy well construction allow the toxic contents of drilling fluid to leak into the groundwater and eventually contaminate the public water supply. People living closest to fracking wells say that the chemicals used in or created by the fracking process have already contaminated their private water wells.

Recent reports show that wastewater from the fracking process has regularly been turned away from treatment facilities because it contains radioactive material, and spilled fracking fluid has been blamed for contaminating land and nearby waterways.

When it has been challenged to reveal the contents of fracking fluid, the industry has routinely argued that doing so would disclose so-called trade secrets.

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