From The Daily Reflector - State lawmakers could have taken a cautious approach last year when legislation to allow natural gas exploration in North Carolina came before them. The process used to extract the energy source — hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — has yet to be fully vetted for safety, but the Legislature approved a bill to press ahead with authorization, choosing economic potential over environmental protection.
Now the General Assembly appears poised to go one step further as it considers a bill that would erode the modest protections included in last year’s legislation and provide incentives to companies looking to drill here. While North Carolina should strive to develop an energy economy that creates jobs and helps the nation toward independence, lawmakers’ approach to this issue is both reckless and foolish.
(via WUNC) By JESSICA JONES - State lawmakers have tentatively approved a measure that would launch the permitting process for natural gas fracking in North Carolina. House legislators passed the bill this afternoon. It would remove a previous requirement that state lawmakers give final approval before the permitting process could begin. Republican Senator Buck Newton is one of the bill's sponsors.
Tags: Frackingncgancpolwater contamination
By John Murawski and Craig Jarvis — RALEIGH — Senate Republicans are pushing to make North Carolina more welcoming to energy companies with a bill that requires environmental regulators to promote business opportunities for energy companies they oversee.
The legislation, introduced Monday, will get its first airing Wednesday before the Senate Finance Committee. Its sponsors say it will attract thousands of new jobs and generate billions of dollars for the state.
The legislation would eliminate some fracking safeguards that were adopted into law last year. The safeguards were key to getting enough Democrats on board to override then-Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill that allowed fracking to advance in the state. One of the key provisions was that fracking would not become legal until the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission wrote safety rules and the legislature took a separate vote on those rules.
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SANFORD — When Lynn Fass sold her horse farm in New Jersey several years ago, she wanted to get as far away from the drilling she partially blames for her property's depreciation as possible. Now, living in Chatham County, she's facing fracking once again.
Fass spoke at a Tuesday night meeting in which more than 50 people came to speak or listen. It was the first major public meeting about fracking in the area that hasn't been run by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission. No members of the commission — several of whom live or work nearby — attended the forum.
From the Wall Street Journal: New tests of water surrounding natural-gas-drilling sites near Pavillion, Wyo., have turned up results that are "generally consistent" with earlier findings showing a link between contamination and hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
Tags: Frackingwater contamination
EDITORIAL - We have about two years before any fracking is expected to begin here in North Carolina, and hopefully, in that time, we'll get a critical mass of people in Raleigh willing to take a more serious look at this controversial process before we rush ahead.
Our state's natural beauty is a great resource, a tourist draw and an economic boon all its own; we don't need to mess it up for a few dollars more for just a few short years.
Tags: Frackingwaterncgovncgagovernornatural gas
From The Independent - The North Carolina panel charged with preparing natural gas drilling regulations is already facing controversy. Last week, members of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission tapped Jim Womack, a Lee County commissioner and outspoken advocate of hydraulic fracturing, as chairman of the new board. Womack has supported fracking in the Lee County city of Sanford, thought to be the most likely place to find natural gas—although in unknown quantities—in North Carolina. He leads a board already drawing complaints that it is loaded with drilling industry leaders but contains only a handful of environmentalists.
Tags: FrackingMECncpolncgagasnatural gas
In an interview with WRAL on Monday, Lee County Commissioner Jim Womack, who was appointed to the commission by Senate leader Phil Berger, said he is the only candidate to chair the panel.
And he said a lot more: "I believe it's in the best interest of the state of North Carolina to open the door to horizontal drilling."
The N.C. Mining and Energy Commission will hold its second meeting on Friday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building, located at 300 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.
At this meeting, the commission will elect a chairman and vice chairman for the full commission; the newly elected chairman will then appoint a chairman and vice chairman for the commission’s Mining Committee.
From the Editorial Board at the Winston-Salem Journal:
Unfortunately, a legislative leadership that has already sped to a decision — one that favors the drilling and that eschews careful consideration — chose not to attend. At the conference, fracking proponents would have been delighted to hear that opponents have made a mountain out of a molehill, or should we say an ocean out of a pond, regarding the water that would be consumed by fracking operations. It sounds enormous — millions of gallons — but putting that number in perspective, it's in line with many industries, such as watering golf courses. Legislators might not have wanted to hear, however, what other scientists reported — that the economic windfall for North Carolina would not be very great.