The War over SB 1003 (Environmental Audit Immunity)
Opinion is so divided about SB 1003, which would shield internal corporate environmental, health and safety audits from public or court view, that combatants can’t even agree on its name.
Backers say it would entice chemical and energy industries to make safety and stringent environmental protection core corporate values. They call it an “environmental or health and safety law”.
Foes say it rewards corporate polluters who violate health and safety laws by dodging responsibility or even public disclosure.
While its official name is the “Environmental, Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act, critics call it the “Pollution Secrecy Act” or “Right to Know Nothing Bill”.
It sailed through the Senate with little notice March 14 by a 36-7 margin, with 5 senators excused, despite the act specifically excluding from the Oklahoma Open Records Act not just audits, but any documents used as exhibits or appendices or photographs—even ones not collected as audit components. Also secret would be communications “associated with an environmental or health and safety audit” (without defining “associated”), and even documents not marked as “Privileged.”