Open the books on fracking chemicals

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Polls show North Carolinians are divided over the practice of “fracking” to mine natural gas and other resources under the Earth’s crust, so it’s probably safe to say we could all use a little more information. State lawmakers are considering lifting a moratorium on such mining in the next year or so.

So why in the world has N.C. Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton introduced legislation that would actually make it a Class 1 felony for someone to intentionally disclose the chemicals used in the process?

Newton, a Republican from Wilson County whose district includes part of Rocky Mount, has joined two other senators in introducing the Energy Modernization Act. Newton is a big supporter of fracking, a process in which mining companies inject chemicals into the earth in order to reach natural gas reserves. Environmental groups contend the practice poses a threat to drinking water supplies. That’s probably why a poll conducted last year by Elon University found that just under half of those surveyed say they support fracking. More than a third of those who responded say they oppose it.

The questions raised by fracking in other states should at least make us cautious about its potential. The state of Texas – not exactly an enclave of wild-eyed liberal thinking – was the first state in the country to pass laws requiring fracking companies to disclose what chemicals they’re using. About 20 states have similar laws.

Not only does Newton’s proposed legislation turn its back on common-sense disclosure requirements, it would make it a felony for anyone to reveal what’s being used in the fracking process. Convicted offenders would face a few months in jail, under his proposal, plus fines. The list of fracking chemicals should be considered proprietary information, Newton has said.

That’s a tough drink to swallow. Surely, the health and safety of millions of North Carolinians supersede whatever competitive advantage a company might glean by keeping its formula secret – especially since much of that information is readily available in other states.

Newton’s zealous protection of the mining industry’s interests give us pause to wonder. Who in Raleigh is looking out for the welfare of North Carolinians?

Comments

NC GOP criminalizing fracking chemical public domain disclosure

Yes, points well taken. Curious that these GOP folks are paid so well as to attempt to preemptively hide in NC that which is already in the public domain. One possibility is that those paying for the bill intend to put new, more deadly poisons into the mix like mustard gas, phosgene, thallium, polonium, etc. And/Or they are rushing this so the public doesn't realize they will be the target of the toxic, hazardous, and poisonous elements and compounds. Fracking chemicals have been disclosed in 20 states by manufacturers, suppliers, distributers, drillers; databases are available. Start with Wikipedia fracking additives and track into New York testimony, reports, etc.. So put all the chemicals into the NC public domain now by reference to all those documents, websites, fracfocus, New York, etc.. There are some 750 compounds already disclosed. Start with theseBefore the GOP makes it illegal for NC to look at the public domain, breath clean air, or drink unpolluted water, here are a few fracking compounds that are Carcinogens, are on the SDWA list, or are Hazardous Air Pollutants, from http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Hydraulic-Fracturing-Chemicals-2011-4-18.pdf : "Table 3. Chemicals Components of Concern: Carcinogens, SDWA-Regulated Chemicals, and Hazardous Air Pollutants Chemical Component, Toxic Chemical Category Methanol (Methyl alcohol), HAP Ethylene glycol (1,2-ethanediol), HAP Diesel Carcinogen, SDWA, HAP Naphthalene ,Carcinogen, HAP Xylene, SDWA, HAP Hydrogen chloride (Hydrochloric acid), HAP Toluene SDWA, HAP Ethylbenzene, SDWA, HAP Diethanolamine (2,2-iminodiethanol), HAP Formaldehyde Carcinogen, HAP Sulfuric acid, Carcinogen Thiourea, Carcinogen Benzyl chloride, Carcinogen, HAP Cumene, HAP Nitrilotriacetic acid, Carcinogen Dimethyl formamide, HAP Phenol, HAP Benzene, Carcinogen, SDWA, HAP Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Carcinogen, SDWA, HAP Acrylamide, Carcinogen, SDWA, HAP Hydrogen fluoride (Hydrofluoric acid), HAP Phthalic anhydride, HAP Acetaldehyde, Carcinogen, HAP Acetophenone, HAP Copper, SDW A Ethylene oxide, Carcinogen, HAP Lead, Carcinogen, SDWA, HAP Propylene oxide, Carcinogen, HAP p-Xylene, HAP Number of Products Containing a Component of Concern: 652" Note this is not a complete list of Toxics in Fracking Chemicals. Many compounds have not been evaluated, so they are just time bombs. For instance, silica is used as tracking sand, and Silicosis is deadly but not apparent for years after exposure. Still curious what the Frackers plan by hiding their chemicals in NC and how much this bill cost them.

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