Orange County commissioner Mark Marcopolos proposed a resolution aimed at stopping fracking in North Carolina, which is a method used to obtain oil and natural gas from the ground.
“Natural gas was considered a ‘bridge fuel,'” he said. “As scientists have gotten a grip on what’s really going on, we found out the natural gas and the methane that’s released in the production and incineration of it is worse than coal.”
The resolution calls for NC governor Roy Cooper to use his executive authority to shut down fracking in North Carolina by the end of 2018.
It also calls for the governor to shut down any natural gas plants in North Carolina and prevent any new plants from opening by the year 2022.
Commissioner Barry Jacobs said this was not the first time the commissioners have looked at fracking.
“In 2012 the Orange County Board of Commissioners had a resolution opposing shell gas development in North Carolina,” he said. “So we’ve been on record for quite some time against having it transported in our county or developed in our state.”
The resolution passed 6-1, with commissioner Earl McKee as the lone dissenting voice.
He said he agreed with the opposition to fracking, but had issues with how the resolution was constructed.
“I do not believe that we can or should set a 2018 nor a 2022 deadline,” McKee said. “First of all we have no way of enforcing it. It’s not realistic.”
Questions were also raised about Duke Energy, which Marcopolos named specifically in the resolution as one of the main drivers of the fracking industry in the United States.
“Duke Energy is one of the largest utilities in the world,” Marcopolos said. “If we can prevail upon Duke Energy to accept a renewable energy future, we can make great progress on climate change.”
Chatham County will also be looking at the issue of fracking. The Chatham County Board of Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing on extending its ban on fracking for July 17.