Students Comment on Alaska Fracking Regulations

The University of Texas Regulatory Oversight Group (UTROG) submitted comments today on disclosure provisions of hydraulic fracturing regulations proposed by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC)

UTROG consists of students who are participating in a law school class in environmental regulation and are overseen by two professors.  In preparing the comments,  the students reviewed regulations adopted in other states and met with UT Law alumni with experience working on fracking matters.

The proposed Alaska rule has attracted attention because, unlike existing fracking regulations, it does not include trade secret protections.

“In Alaska, geologists have identified 42 trillion feet of cubic natural gas in North Slope shale formations that could be produced using current technology,” the comments explain.  “While these reserves present Alaska with tremendous opportunity, the AOGCC should be mindful of the experiences that Texas and other states in the Lower 48 have encountered in developing their shale resources.”

To that end, the comments recommend the AOGCC consider seriously the public interest in disclosure and the downsides associated with trade secret protections.  The comments proose a set of minimal requirements that should accompany any trade secret regime the AOGCC decides to incorporate into the final version of the rules.