Energy companies say releasing CO2 data would jeopardize trade secrets

Energy companies say releasing CO2 data would jeopardize trade secrets


“Shhhh … don’t tell anybody how much we’re wrecking the climate … that’s a trade secret.”

Energy and chemical companies are urging the Obama administration to dump a proposal on greenhouse gas emissions reporting. They say new reporting requirements could put their trade secrets at risk. From The Hill:

The White House is currently reviewing a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that could require companies to publicly release the information they use to calculate the emissions, like the volume of production or raw materials that are used.

Companies and market regulators worry that that data can be “reverse-engineered and reverse-calculated to basically give away trade secrets,” according to Lorraine Gershman, director of the environmental, regulatory and technical affairs office of the American Chemistry Council.

“We pretty much are reiterating our concern that the data be protected and not divulged,” she said. “Our members’ concerns are release of information, both domestically and internationally as well.”

The energy industry uses the “trade secrets” cry a lot. Frackers use it to prevent the public from knowing which chemicals they’re pumping underground, for example. And ExxonMobil has been using it to argue that it should be allowed keep secret its inspection reports on the tar-sands oil pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower, Ark., earlier this year. From EnergyWire:

Federal regulators at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are set to decide as soon as this week whether Exxon can claim a trade secret exemption that would let it withhold inspection data for the ruptured Pegasus pipeline from Arkansas officials seeking it, including two GOP members of Congress. The immediate dispute hinges on a request from the local water utility to relocate the 96,000-barrel-per-day Pegasus following the spill, but the Arkansas conflict over Exxon’s confidentiality rights echoes warnings from [Keystone XL] opponents that pipeline operators are too loosely overseen to ensure safe oil transportation.

It seems that wrecking the environment is just part of the trade for fossil fuel companies, and they don’t want anybody to know how exceedingly good at it they are.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

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Energy companies say releasing CO2 data would jeopardize trade secrets

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