A story in today's Energywire caught our eye, as a classic example of the lengths to which powerful fossil fuel companies will go to stifle any look into their operations.
A Pennsylvania physician who says he routinely treats workers exposed to chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing sued the state last week over a controversial law that, on paper, limits information sharing between doctors and patients.
A portion of Act 13, a wide-reaching oil and gas law adopted by the state five months ago, requires operators to disclose the identity and amount of proprietary chemicals used in fracking to doctors in case of an emergency. But in return, doctors are required to sign a confidentiality form that could stop them from sharing information with patients or other doctors.
But Alfonso Rodriguez, a doctor in Luzerne County who treats kidney ailments, has been directly affected by Act 13, said his attorney Paul Rossi. Rodriguez recently treated an oil and gas worker who was exposed to a chemical-laden fluid after a gas well blew out. The patient had low platelets in his blood, anemia, rash, and acute renal failure that required extensive treatment of the kidneys by dialysis and with drugs, the lawsuit states.
Rodriguez has also had to draft out legal notices to his patients informing them that he may not be able to share all relevant knowledge during treatment because of Act 13, Rossi said.
So, ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, etc. claim (laughably) that it's all "free speech" when they buy elections through organizations pretending to be "charities." But, it's OK to limit that same free speech when a doctor tries to treat patients effectively, including providing them with all the relevant information, but can't do so because it might offend oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil? That's not just Alice in Wonderland nonsense, it's dangerous.