On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled North Carolina House of Representatives, voted 63-52 in a preliminary vote to allow fracking for natural gas to begin in the state next summer. A final House vote is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Democrats and environmental groups were astonished as, in less than 24 hours, the bill was rushed through two committees and onto the House floor without any prior public notice.
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The Senate bill includes language that would make it a crime to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. Releasing fracking fluid composition “knowingly or negligently” would be considered a misdemeanor. The bill would also prevent local bans on fracking and reduce groundwater testing in fracking areas. Senate Republicans originally wanted to make it a felony to disclose this information, which would have meant violators could have ended up in jail.