RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A bill has passed a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates that would exempt certain chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing from disclosure in response to a public records request, also called a FOIA request.

Supporters say it’s necessary to protect the oil and gas industry and its closely held trade secrets.

Opponents say the bill could hinder first responders in an emergency and keep landowners in the dark about pollutants that might be affecting their groundwater.

Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rock formations and allow oil and gas to flow.

The measure passed the Natural Resources subcommittee on a 4-3 vote Thursday.

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