Fracking

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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