Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s November 1, 2013 revisions to its proposed regulations concerning workover operations and hydraulic fracturing. We are disappointed to see the newly proposed provisions shielding alleged trade secrets and diminishing the requirements for water monitoring. The proposed trade secrets provision is particularly misguided as it will allow operators to easily circumvent all of the public disclosure requirements. As currently written, the draft trade secrets provision incentivizes hydraulic fracturing operators to make broad and unsubstantiated trade secret claims. As transparency and testing are both critical to ensuring the safety of, and the public’s confidence in, hydraulic fracturing operations, the Commission should not adopt the latest proposed revisions.
Still, we appreciate the Commission’s ongoing efforts to revise the draft regulations in accordance with public input. We ask you to consider the comments below in preparing final regulations that would more rigorously protect human health, safety, and the environment. We incorporate by reference our comments dated April 1, 2013, and August 5, 2013,1 and reiterate our concerns and recommendations made in those comments.