Environment & Energy
4:03 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Commonwealth Court Throws Out Several Challenges to Act 13, Including ‘Doctor Gag Rule’

Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court has upheld several sections of the state's oil and gas law, including a provision dealing with doctors' access to the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court has upheld several sections of the state's oil and gas law, including a provision dealing with doctors' access to the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
Credit Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pennsylvania doctors have nothing to worry about when it comes to the so-called “gag order” on chemical exposures from oil and gas drilling. That’s the message from the Commonwealth Court today in a much-anticipated ruling on provisions of the state’s two-year-old oil and gas law. The court issued the ruling after the Supreme Court passed on the controversy, sending it back to the lower court.

The “gag rule” stems from a section of Act 13, which requires nondisclosure agreements from healthcare providers who seek information on chemical exposures, which may be deemed “confidential” by industry. The law, which was drafted without the knowledge or consultation of healthcare providers, forces doctors to sign a nondisclosure agreement, thereby agreeing not to share any ingredients in the industry’s secret sauce used to frack and drill for natural gas.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner StateImpact Pennsylvania.

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