Fracking ban lifted in North CarolinaJune 11, 2014
NC Governor has signed a bill into law that permits gas drilling in the state.
Last week, Republican Governor Pat McCrory lifted a longtime ban on hydraulic fracturing, when he signed a law that would allow for shale gas fracking exploration to take place in North Carolina sooner than was previously expected.
Hydrofracturing could start as soon as 2015.
It is believed that the state has unused shale gas reserves located in a huge rock formation underground. The mining practice, which is used to extract gas or oil deep beneath the earth’s surface, has resulted in a dramatic increase in domestic gas production across the U.S.
Proponents of fracking in North Carolina want in on this success. Governor McCrory said, “We have watched and waited as other states moved forward with energy exploration, and it is finally our turn.” McCrory stated that the law will encourage economic growth and will result in the creation of jobs in all sectors of the economy, particularity in rural regions.
In 2012, a law was passed that permitted hydraulic fracturing in the state. However, as part of this law, an additional vote was required after regulations were drawn up for environmental protection. Now, the new legislation enables the issuing of fracking permits without the requirement of additional legislative action. This law will commence two months following the completion of state rules, which will probably be as early as next year.
Fracking opponents criticize the law and see it has harmful to public health and the environment.
Democrat and State Representative Pricey Harrison believes that the additional vote that was mandatory in the previous law was vital. Harrison commented that North Carolinians were promised that the state would not start fracking until there were regulations established that would safeguard the environment and public health. “This bill violates that promise,” Harrison said.
In addition, Sierra Club, Environment North Carolina and other environmental groups are also criticizing the law. “There are more than 1,000 documented cases of contaminated water from fracking across the country,” Environment North Carolina State Director Elizabeth Ouzts said. By fast-forwarding hydraulic fracturing, the state’s government is putting “North Carolina’s rivers and the drinking water for millions in jeopardy.”