A legislative committee that's studying a method of natural gas drilling sometimes called fracking met in Raleigh today. Representatives of oil and gas interest groups as well as environmental non-profits spoke at the meeting. Ray Covington of Lee County is a co-founder of a company that has entered into mineral rights agreements with many landowners in the area.
Ray Covington: We would like to extract the natural gas from underneath our lands when it can be done safely and in an environmentally correct manner. We all want to do it right. We are working with a clean slate here in North Carolina. We need to do this drilling correctly or not at all.
State geologists have concluded that Lee, Moore and Chatham counties have rich reserves of natural gas. But the gas is trapped in dense layers of shale. It can only be extracted through fracking, which consists of a newer method of horizontal drilling. Many environmental groups are concerned that fracking can contaminate ground water supplies.