homepage logo

From Chris Hoke

By Staff | Apr 24, 2013

“Our” legislators recently passed SB 243 with the Halliburton / EIM amendment intact. Under this amendment, oil and gas companies do not have to reveal the chemicals they use in their drilling process if they claim the chemicals are proprietary / trade secrets. This amendment which I call a physicians’ gag order means if a first responder, drill worker, or citizen is taken to the ER as a result of a drilling accident, the physician must first call the operator to get the name of chemicals the patient was exposed to and sign a non disclosure agreement. This may take minutes / hours before he can treat the patient. The doctor cannot reveal to the patient or to the family what the chemicals are. If he does so, he may be faced with legal action by the oil and gas company.

Check out the details of the Cathy Behr case, www.denverpost.com, published in the Denver Post on July 24, 2008, by reporter Susan Greene. Ms. Behr is an ER nurse in Durango, Colo., who became critically ill in 2008 when treating a well worker who had fracking fluid on his clothing. Breathing in the chemical fumes, her vision became blurry, skin turned yellow, she vomited, and lungs filled with fluid. She was diagnosed with multiple organ failure and spent two weeks in ICU. For days the oil and gas company refused to tell her doctor the chemicals in the fracking fluid, even though her life was in jeopardy.

So please read this account for yourself. And please pass on this information to your family and friends who are first responders (and well workers) in Tyler and other West Virginia counties. The first rule of First Responders is scene safety-never enter a situation that may be harmful to yourself or your team member.

Is the passing of this amendment ethical? Are “our” West Virginia representatives looking after our (West Virginia citizens) best interest / health and safety?

Chris Hoke