PA court weighs gas drilling rules, patient rights

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania appeals court appeared skeptical of gas drilling rules that would limit what "trade secrets" the industry must share after a spill.

The Commonwealth Court also heard arguments Wednesday on whether injured patients and their doctors would have to keep information disclosed to them confidential.

Pennsylvania is trying to update 20-year-old laws to oversee the drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale. But the state's high court last year threw out much of the industry-friendly regulations passed in 2012.

In court Wednesday, Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini asked whether drilling companies alone should know what's "in the secret sauce" used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Industry lawyer David Overstreet says the industry is "benefiting tens of thousands of people," despite the public criticism.

The court was also asked to order that contamination notices cover private water along with public water supplies.

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