North Carolina News Service
Stephanie Carroll Carson
RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina lawmakers and state agencies are working hard to meet their self-imposed deadline to develop more than 100 regulations needed before the state can issue fracking permits to oil and gas companies. Today, a legislative committee is meeting to discuss the progress of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission to create those rules.
Hope Taylor, executive director, Clean Water for North Carolina, said she believes regardless of the regulations imposed, the state’s ground water and health of citizens remain at risk.
“We haven’t seen a state whose regulations and enforcement of those regulations is enough to protect human health, the environment, or to prevent significant economic inequities,” Taylor said.
Six states have at least 1,000 documented cases of various types of ground water contamination linked to gas development, she added. In North Carolina, the shale that contains the natural gas is closer to the surface than in other states, and therefore closer to the ground water.
Currently, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources is facing criticism for its regulation of coal-ash ponds, following a spill on the Dan River. Taylor and others question the agency’s ability to protect the environmental health of the state.
“Our agency is demonstrably unable to protect water quality in North Carolina. They have shown through their response to sewage spills and the coal-ash spill that they don’t have the will to enforce our state or federal regulations,” Taylor said.
Currently, the state plans to finalize fracking regulations by this fall – or later. At that point, the State Assembly would vote on whether to begin issuing permits.
The North Carolina counties of Stokes, Rockingham, Granville, Orange, Durham, Chatham, Wake, Lee, Moore, Richmond, Montgomery, Anson, Davie and Yadkin could be affected by fracking.