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North Carolina Republicans want to imprison anyone who discloses chemicals used for fracking

Even investigating doctors and firefighters would be prosecuted for disclosing chemicals used for fracking.
By Matt Bradwell   |   Updated May 22, 2014 at 6:46 PM
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RALEIGH, N.C., May 22 (UPI) -- North Carolina, like many states, is considering turning to hydraulic fracturing for energy and revenue. Unlike most of those states, North Carolina does not require disclosure of the chemicals used for fracking. Now lawmakers are trying to make it a crime to disclose that information at all.

The Republican-sponsored Energy Modernization Act would allow authorities to fine and imprison anyone who revealed "corporate secrets" about fracking companies, even the foreign, potentially toxic, chemicals that are added to North Carolina's ecosystem.

Such provisions are not unheard of, but the language in this bill are particularly extreme and it has very broad guidelines for what would constitute a Class I Felony.

"The felony provision is far stricter than most states' provisions in terms of the penalty for violating trade secrets," Hannah Wiseman, a Florida State University assistant law professor, told Mother Jones.

I think the only penalties to fire chiefs and doctors, if they talked about it at their annual conference, would be the penalties contained in the confidentiality agreement. But [the bill] is so poorly worded, I cannot confirm that if an emergency responder or fire chief discloses that confidential information, they too would not be subject to a felony.

Fracking is currently illegal in North Carolina. The practice cannot become decriminalized until the state passes regulatory guidelines.

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