NC bill would ban fracking chemical disclosure

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a felony to disclose the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, also known as fracking.

The Energy Modernization Act would make unauthorized disclosure of fracking trade secrets, including chemicals used, a Class I felony, punishable by a few months in prison, EnergyWire reported. Suspects could also face civil penalties.

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Fracking fluid is more than 99 percent water and sand by volume, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). Drilling companies use it to break shale underground to access more natural gas than they could through traditional drilling.

Apart from the water and sand, fracking fluid includes a proprietary mix of chemicals such as ethylene glycol, borate salts and isopropanol, API said. The gas industry has push back against attempts to require disclosure of the chemicals, which it says are trade secrets.

North Carolina’s bill would put the state geologist in charge of maintaining fracking chemical information, which could be disclosed to emergency workers in the case of a spill or human exposure, EnergyWire said.

But environmental groups are concerned about the ban on most disclosures, saying it could put a chilling effect on those who want to help emergency workers.

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