Fracking

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.

The Fracas over Fracking

May 25, 2012

Just a few years ago North Carolina state geologists began reporting that prehistoric geologic formations beneath our feet may be good candidates for shale and gas deposits. The only way to release such deposits is through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Other states like Pennsylvania and New York have legalized fracking in recent years, but have had to retroactively enact regulations on the practice. North Carolina wants to do it differently.

Governor Bev Perdue has issued an executive order creating a task force to develop regulation for the controversial natural gas drilling practice known as fracking.

A training center opens in Raleigh this afternoon to highlight the latest uses for propane. North Carolina is the second largest user of the fuel behind California. John Jessup is the executive director of the North Carolina Propane Gas Association. He says propane burns cleaner and is cheaper than gasoline and diesel. He also says the natural gas boom is behind the boost in the propane supply.

The Democratic frontrunners for Governor are working to distinguish themselves from one another before early voting begins later this week. Gurnal Scott looks at one issue where these men stood apart in last night's debate.

Hannah Shaw
Leoneda Inge

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources got an earful last night in Chapel Hill as the debate over natural gas exploration heats up.  Scientists and everyday citizens packed East Chapel Hill High School to have their say on DENR’s draft report on hydraulic fracturing, sometimes known as “fracking.”  That’s the controversial process used to extract natural gas from shale rock underground.  An overwhelming number of voices at the hearing were against fracking and the negative impact they worry it could have on the environment here.

Opponents and supporters of hydraulic fracturing made their cases at a public hearing in Sanford last night.

Ray Covington of the group North Carolina Oil and Gas said about 600 people turned out to comment on "fracking," the controversial process used to extract natural gas deposits from shale rock. He praised a recent report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, finding that fracking can be done safely in the state with proper regulation.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is ready to present its draft report on hydraulic fracturing.   This is the controversial process used to extract natural gas from shale rock underground.

State Environmental officials say an independent study concludes North Carolina needs more regulations before some natural gas drilling can take place.

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.

The boom of shale gas extraction in the US and elsewhere has prompted Duke University to organize a two day conference on the topic. Organizers say the controversial process of gas extraction called fracking will be one of the main focuses of the gathering. Rob Jackson is a professor of environmental sciences at Duke and one of the event's organizers. He says his department is ready to monitor water supplies if fracking is allowed to take place in this state.

There have been significant improvements in air and water quality in the state over the last two decades, according to a new state report.

Scientists from Duke University and the U-S Geological Survey will soon be collecting water samples in communities where there is the potential for shale gas exploration.  

Scientists will be collecting baseline data in Lee and Chatham counties.  The samples will come from private and public water supply wells.  Holly Weyers is director of the U-S Geological Survey North Carolina Water Science Center.  She says it’s important to get ground-water quality data before any drilling.

The state of North Carolina is undergoing an outside review of its oil and gas regulatory programs.  Questions surrounding “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing for natural gas led to the review.

The non-profit reviewing body is called STRONGER – State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, Inc.  It’s made up of state agencies, the oil and gas industry and environmental groups. Wilma Subra is chairwoman of the STRONGER board.  She says they’ve reviewed several states so far, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana and now North Carolina.

The debate over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is heating up in North Carolina.   The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has the task of preparing a study for lawmakers as they consider whether to allow the controversial drilling technique.  A final report is due in less than a year. Critics of “fracking” want the state to slow down. 

House lawmakers have approved a bill that would bring North Carolina closer to allowing a controversial natural gas extraction practice known as "fracking." Senate Bill 709 would also approve studying the potential of drilling for natural gas both on land and offshore. The measure would also require officials to set up the regulatory framework needed to produce the resource. Proponents of the bill say it would make the state more independent of foreign oil. But Democratic Minority Leader Joe Hackney says this measure would move too fast.

State senators have passed a bill that would promote a controversial method of extracting natural gas popularly known as fracking. Senate Bill 709 would also open the coast to offshore natural gas drilling in conjunction with other states. Republican Senator Bob Rucho is the bill's main sponsor.

There's new evidence that the method of extracting natural gas called "hydraulic fracturing" could be contaminating drinking water. A team of Duke researchers have found elevated levels of methane in well water near hydraulic fracturing sites. That could be an important finding as state legislators consider whether to begin allowing the practice here in North Carolina. Natural gas deposits have been discovered deep under some of the state's most populated counties like Wake, Durham, and Orange.

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