It seems like this ought to have been a settled issue since the days after Love Canal: No, companies should not be allowed to put whatever chemicals they like in whatever proportions they like into our groundwater while invoking the sacred corporate doctrine of sucks to be you. How is this even up for discussion? And it's not even just up for discussion, the elected governments of various states have been going to the mat for the right not only to put whatever chemicals they like into the groundwater, but to make it illegal for anyone else to mention what those chemicals might be.
North Carolina lawmakers have softened a controversial bill that would have made it a felony to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. Under the version of the law that passed the state legislature on Thursday, the offense has been knocked down [from a felony] to a misdemeanor.Oh, good, only a misdemeanor. That's good news, because we wouldn't want the doctor who tests you for chemical exposure to face time in the pokey if he shows you the lab results. We had to have the well tested here when we bought our house—it was a requirement of the escrow—and I hate to think I'd be sending the poor guy who tested it to the chair. Or would have gotten the chair only if he was honest about the results? The whole thing is more than a bit muddled.
Following widespread public outcry, lawmakers have reduced the penalty to community service.I wonder if it'd be community service spent cleaning up fracking chemicals. It'd still be more than many of the fracking companies have been obliged to do.
But they failed to clarify confusing language from an earlier draft that might subject fire chiefs and health care providers to criminal charges. This provision could prevent emergency responders from speaking about their experiences with chemical accidents to colleagues—even when the information is relevant to emergency planning or patient care.Which is about the greatest eff-you to constituents that the Republicans of North Carolina or any other state have ever devised: It's a crime for health officials to plan disaster response or patient treatment based on the chemicals you or they might be exposed to because energy company profits are specifically and legislatively more important, you piffling pile of nobody. The doctors and emergency responders are literally not allowed to know, and if they do know they're literally not allowed to say. That has to be an even bigger eff-you than Republican legislation requiring state agencies to ignore rising sea levels even if they know they're coming. It's gloriously, shamelessly crooked. It's like shooting someone and then filing charges against him for stealing your bullet.
Again, why is this a debatable issue? This wasn't settled 30 years ago, back in the heady days when we finally figured out that putting chemicals into the groundwater had the uncanny effect of putting chemicals in the groundwater? If these new batches of unknown stuff come back out in someone's well, the official North Carolina stance is that nobody is allowed to even bring it up?