Facing South
Facing South

Hopes for halting rush to NC fracking rest with governor

The Republican-controlled North Carolina House passed a controversial bill yesterday legalizing fracking in the state -- but opponents were buoyed by fracking supporters' inability to get the votes needed to override a veto by the Democratic governor.

After three hours of debate, the House voted 66 to 43 to approve Senate Bill 820, which would allow permitting for fracking operations to get underway in two years. The legislation now goes back to the Republican-controlled Senate, which passed a different version of the bill last week.

The final version of the bill is expected to land on the desk of Gov. Beverly Perdue early next week -- and environmental advocates are asking for a "tidal wave of calls" urging her to veto the measure.

Perdue has a 10-day window to veto the legislation. She has previously expressed support for fracking as long as it can be done safely. But environmental advocates say the proposal under consideration moves too fast and fails to give adequate consideration to safety concerns.

"Last month, Gov. Bev Perdue called for a careful and responsible approach to fracking," said Elizabeth Ouzts, director of Environment North Carolina. "This bill represents the opposite track -- rushing the state into this dangerous new method of drilling and asking the questions later."

If Perdue vetoes the bill, its supporters would need to muster 72 votes for an override. Eleven House members didn't vote on the measure, and environmental advocates say eight of them would probably have voted to oppose it.

During the House debate, lawmakers were given copies of a letter from Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of a small Texas town that's a center for the fracking industry. Tillman visited the legislature this week to talk about his community's experiences with pollution and other problems.

His letter stated:

"We’ve watched as fracking has turned our small rural town into an ugly industrial zone. We’ve also felt health impacts first hand as we have been overwhelmed at times with strong chemical odors. We’ve watched our roads be in a constant state of congestion and in need of repair due to the stress of relentless heavy truck traffic. This is the reality of life in a fracking state."

Environmental advocacy groups are asking members to contact the governor as soon as possible, and Occupy Raleigh is planning a protest outside the governor's mansion on Monday at 6 p.m. calling on her to veto the bill.

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Fracking pollutes our drinking water and causes cancer!

Blinded by Greed

It is unfortunate that yet another state- a state in which my family has vacationed in many times over the years-has become blinded by the promises of riches due to shale gas exploration.

There is currently a glut of natural gas-so much that the larger gas companies are investing huge amount of money in LNG plants to ship liquefied natural gas overseas to Asia, in part because the profits are enormous. Natural gas prices continue to fall, as does demand in the U.S., but Asia's is growing. How does exporting natural gas make us 'energy independent'?

It's hard to argue that hydraulic fracturing has anything to do with 'job creation' when the small once rural towns are filled with out of state workers. (Man camps, anyone?) Sure, maybe they are helping continue employment, but actually created jobs are few. And those created jobs more often than not are temporary-no long term commitment is offered by the energy companies, and the actual job only lasts as long as the wells being completed last. The worker then either has to follow the job-which is likely much further away from home, and it's only for a short period time anyway.

Natural gas may burn cleaner than coal, but the extraction process makes it at least as dirty, if not worse. Most drill rigs are powered by diesel generators, which run 24/7 for months at a time, not to mention the hundreds of semi truck trips for each well. Then there's the disposal of millions of gallons of contaminated water. And every drop of water used-3-5 millions of gallons for each well-is now toxic and cannot be returned to the hydrological cycle and water treatment plants are not equipped to deal with it.

Decimation of property values: Any time there is a well drilled on a property, the closer the well is to the home, the greater the risk is of substantial loss in value. Who wants to live next to a gas processing plant? Dangerous and noxious emissions, leaks and spills and continued truck traffic at all hours of the night are not exactly welcoming nor bring any peace of mind. My property was reduced by 75% as a result of a gas company setting up shop in my backyard.

There's also the issue of ground water contamination. It exists, and it exists from other types of Industry already, but why contribute to that even more? Especially in rural areas where the water is nearly pristine.

Take a look at how Industry 'educates' you on the toxic water: They like to say that while they use millions of gallons of water, chemicals 'only' make up 1-2%. Well, 1-2% doesn't sound so bad, now, does it? Would you think differently of this if they said it was 50,000 gallons of carcinogenic fluids being pumped into the ground THROUGH the water table, protected only by a steel tube and cement casing? I say 'only' because steel rusts and breaks and concrete cracks and splits and degrades over time, especially under high pressure and heat. Take a look at any sidewalk. Cracked and split, right? What do you think that thin layer of concrete that is separating dangerous chemicals from your child's drinking water is doing?

Hydraulic fracturing causes far more problems than it solves. It's only profitable for a short period of time, but the damage caused lasts a lifetime. Once an aquifer is contaminated, there is no fixing it.

If you're unsure about hydraulic fracturing and the real truth about it, I would encourage you to do as much research as you can. There are plenty of materials out there to be had-just don't limit your fact finding to the propaganda coming from the operators themselves. Take a good look at what we've done to ourselves in Texas, (try Google Earth) and decide for yourself if this is what you want in YOUR backyard.

Blinded by Greed

I live in Sanford NC an area they have targeted for fracking. I have spent every day the last 4 months of my life fighting this disaster from coming to our town.Our government is deciding on our fate and most people in this little town still don't even know what fracking is ?
Timothy R. Ruggiero , I was very impressed with your comment here that I posted this article and your comment also at my facebook page
Thanks for Good information to share.
Fighting for my rights

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