Environment
4:05 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Legislative Committee Passes Fracking Bill

A bill that could allow natural gas "fracking" to proceed in two years in the state is on its way to the Senate floor. It would allow a controversial method of horizontal drilling for natural gas. The Clean Energy and Economic Security Act passed the Senate Commerce Committee earlier today, despite the presence of protesters who spilled outside the committee room where the bill was being heard. Bill Weatherspoon, who heads the North Carolina Petroleum Council, says fracking will help residents become more independent of foreign energy sources.

Bill Weatherspoon: They don't wanna be handcuffed to an ayatollah, who has a name they can't pronounce. In a country that they don't know where it is, with a religion and a culture and a language they don't understand. They much prefer energy jobs here in the US, they much prefer revenue to be paid to our government, they much prefer safe, domestic energy.

But others testified against the measure, including one landowner in Lee County whose neighbors have already given up their mineral rights to energy companies. She and some lawmakers are concerned that fracking could damage local water supplies.