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New bill seeks to restrict public access to information about energy infrastructure

May 20, 2015

State House bill 4540 would exempt information regarding energy infrastructure from Michigan's Freedom of Information Act.
Credit user toffehoff / flickr

  

A bill just introduced in the State House would draw a veil over information about oil and gas pipelines, electrical lines and other key pieces of energy infrastructure.

Under House Bill 4540, backed by State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, that information would be exempt from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, making it no longer available to the public.

Detroit Free Press environmental reporter Keith Matheny tells us the bill “would exempt information that ‘could be useful to a person planning an attack on critical energy infrastructure.’”

Matheny says that while it "probably makes sense" to restrict access to some of this information, many are concerned with how broad the language is in the bill. He doesn't believe the bill will get signed into law in its current form.

“There seems to be quite a bit of room for compromise here,” Matheny says. “I think there will probably be quite a bit of work done on this bill … that results in maybe some revisions and something that could potentially work its way out of the legislature."