Florida lawmaker proposes bills requiring disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids

Currently pending before the Florida House of Representatives are two bills that would require the disclosure of various fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations. H.B. 743, known as “the Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act,” requires owners and operators of wells on which hydraulic fracturing is performed to disclose the chemicals used to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”). The DEP will then post them to FracFocus.org, a national chemistry registry website. The bill’s companion measure, H.B. 745, would create an exemption from the public records requirement for trade secrets.

Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero), who sponsored the bills, said they were modeled after similar laws in Texas. The Florida measure is largely a precautionary one, however, as the state lacks major tight oil and gas plays that would require hydraulic fracturing. In a March 28 legislative State Affairs Committee meeting, Rodrigues said, “[i]t [is] better to do this now, before we have fracturing than waiting until after fracturing actually occurs.”

This article was prepared by Lauren Brogdon (lbrogdon@fulbright.com or 713 651 5375) from Fulbright’s Litigation Practice Group.