House advances bill to hide fracking chemicals from public

newspaperThe House of Delegates today advanced a bill that would exempt information about chemicals used in fracking from public disclosure – even in the event of an emergency.

On the floor of the House Jan. 27, Del. Scott Lingamfelter said fracking was “very safe.” Today, Lingamfelter declared the dangers of fracking “urban legends.”

HB 1679 was engrossed today and will be voted on by the House of Delegates tomorrow.

“The EPA recently concluded that fracking has contaminated drinking water,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Fracking is not ‘very safe.’ Fracking poses a great risk to our environment, our health and our communities. I call upon the Republican Caucus to reevaluate its position and choose Virginia families over corporate interests.”

“By anticipating fracking emergencies, this bill directly contradicts Delegate Lingamfelter’s claim that fracking is ‘very safe,’” said House Democratic Leader Whip Alfonso Lopez. “In fact, the risks posed by fracking are so pervasive that there is a term for them: fraccidents. This bill is just another example of the Republican Caucus placing corporate interests over the safety of hardworking Virginians.”

HB 1679 would protect information about chemicals used in fracking as “trade secrets.” The bill explicitly provides that even in the event of an emergency, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy would be prohibited from disclosing information about those chemicals to the public.

Last week, Republicans in the House of Delegates passed a bill that would exempt the concentrations of chemicals used in fracking from public disclosure.

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