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Halliburton lobbies White House on fracking rules

Officials from oil and gas drilling services giant Halliburton Co. lobbied White House officials this month on the Obama administration’s proposed hydraulic fracturing rules.

The Halliburton representatives complained that the Interior Department’s proposed rules for fracking on federal land do not go far enough in allowing Halliburton to keep secret the chemicals it uses in fracking.

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Requiring certain disclosures of the chemicals that fracking companies use was one of the main focuses of Interior’s rules proposed in 2013.

“As currently drafted, the rule would require the holders of most trade secret information — the service companies and chemical suppliers — to disclose their trade secrets to operators and would allow only the operators to seek protection for trade secrets,” Halliburton said in an informational handout it gave to White House officials and others from the Obama administration.

The meeting took place Nov. 4, but it was only disclosed Tuesday.

Interior proposed the rules last year in an attempt to properly control for fracking, which has taken off in recent years. The process, which involves pumping fluids and sand into oil and gas wells at high pressure, is used on nearly all wells in the western United States, Halliburton said.

Environmentalists and public health advocates have pushed for companies involved in fracking to disclose the chemicals they use, but those companies have held that the substances are trade secrets.

Interior proposed requiring some disclosures of chemicals for federal land frackers, but the regulations would allow some trade secrets to be kept private.

Halliburton complained to the White House that the trade-secret provisions do not go far enough to protect fracking services providers like Halliburton.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) started to review the rules in August, the last step before Interior can make them final. During that process, OMB takes meetings with nearly any interested stakeholders on the rules it is reviewing.