The head of the state's fracking commission has asked Republican lawmakers to honor a hands-off policy with regard to shale gas exploration.
N.C. Mining & Energy Commission Chairman James Womack wrote to lawmakers that the legislature's recent attempt to trump the commission's work not only creates the potential for abuse by the energy industry but also stirs up North Carolina's anti-fracking opponents.
The warning is the latest development in a fracking subplot unfolding between the year-old commission and the state legislature that created the commission last year to write 120-plus safety rules to govern fracking in the state.
Womack, a Republican himself, sent a 2-page letter late Sunday to the Republican leaders in the legislature: N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.
The letter, which was carbon-copied to all N.C. House and Senate members, follows a unanimous vote Friday by the commission. Commissioners are exercised about a recent Senate committee vote to bypass the commission on the most important issue of fracking safety: chemical disclosure.