Under the "Energy Modernization Act," a state geologist would be the custodian of confidential information about fracking fluids. The information can be given to healthcare providers, the public safety department or the fire chief in case of an emergency.
The bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives, would make releasing company secrets "knowingly or negligently" a misdemeanor. The Senate reduced the penalty from a felony in response to objections from Democratic lawmakers.
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The Senate also added a requirement for the geologist to report any banned chemicals found in the fracking fluids to the state Mining and Energy Commission.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says North Carolina has no oil or natural gas production. The bill's backers say the regulations will help attract resource development and jobs.
Oil and gas producers say fracking does not pollute water and many voluntarily, or following state laws, disclose the chemicals they use in FracFocus, an online national registry.
U.S. public opinion is divided on fracking, with hundreds of local jurisdictions banning it, said David Spence, energy regulation expert at Texas' McCombs School of Business & School of Law. Opting to punish disclosure of information could fuel people's fears, he said.