RALEIGH – North Carolina lawmakers are honing rules that would govern underground natural gas drilling and encourage offshore oil drilling.
The Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation intended to spur the state’s energy. It now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory.
The measure removes an earlier idea to begin issuing permits in March 2015 for underground gas drilling using a method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The existing law directs state agencies to craft rules for oil and gas exploration by October 2014 and requires the legislature to act before issuing any permits.
The legislation also directs McCrory to negotiate an offshore energy alliance with the governors of South Carolina and Virginia.
Republican Rep. Mike Stone of Sanford says lawmakers want to tell the energy industry that North Carolina welcomes drilling.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nc-lawmakers-hone-rules-for-gas-oil-drilling/
CHAPEL HILL – The community has a chance Tuesday night to participate in a discussion about the controversial subject of fracking in North Carolina. It’s happening at 7:00 p.m. at the Schley Grange Hall in Hillsborough.
Bonnie Hauser is the president Orange County Voice, the group that organized the discussion.
“The event is a chance for people to get just the facts,” Hauser said.
Last year, hydraulic fracturing—otherwise known as “fracking”— was formally legalized in the state. Since then, the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission has been charged with creating regulations for the procedure.
Dr. Rob Jackson of Duke University will lead the discussion. He’s a professor of Global Environmental Health and the director of the Duke Center for Global Change.
“Dr. Jackson and his group have been studying fracking sites all over the country, working with the US Geological Survey,” Hauser said. “They have the facts and they can tell us what has really been going on. It’s a chance for people who might not be engaged in the discussion– to engage.”
Hauser says the goal is not to tell people what their opinion on fracking should be—but rather to explain the basics of the complex topic.
“It’s easy for us all to jump on the anti-fracking advocacy. There’s a lot of risks involved with fracking and a lot of concerns especially with water quality,” she said.
Hauser says there will be a question and answer session following Jackson’s talk.
Schley Grange Hall:
3416 Schley Rd
- Off NC 57 about 6 miles north of Hillsboroughhttp://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/all-opinions-welcome-to-fracking-discussion-in-hillsborough/
CHAPEL HILL – Two bills survived the crossover deadline this week in the NC General Assembly that some— including Sen. Ellie Kinnaird— say will negatively affect our local environment.
Kinnaird (Dem.) , who represent Orange and Chatham Counties, says one of the things she’s concerned about is Senate Bill 515. It passed in the Senate Wednesday.
“The environmental regulations that have protected our water, air, and soil for so long are just being completely swept aside. These people know that this affects everybody,” Kinnaird said.
The bill would immediately repeal the state’s water protection rules to lessen pollution and run-off into Jordan Lake—the water source for much of the Triangle.
Sponsors for the bill have said the current rules, which were put into place in 2009, are costing developers and cities hundreds of thousands of dollars and need to be changed.
“What we need to look at regionally is having a clean-safe drinking water regionally will have a great economic benefit than saving a little bit of money for one developer,” said local science expert Jeff Danner.
Danner says if the state repeals the current rule, it will allow lawn chemicals to wash in to the lake and this will have to be cleaned-up for drinking purposes. It will also create algae which is bad for fish, among other problems.
Both Kinnaird and Danner are additionally displeased with House Bill 201 that passed the House Wednesday night.
It seeks to revert the Energy Conservation Code for commercial buildings back to 2009 levels— meaning that buildings would be 30 percent less efficient than they are now required to built.
“Up until this recent legislation, North Carolina had been making some strides towards efficient buildings which not only saves money for the occupants—government or private buildings—but we were also developing an industry of people with specialty skills to build these efficient buildings,” Danner said. “This was the right direction for us to go in.”
Danner says emphasis should be put on construction using better building insulation, installing energy-efficient windows, and using natural light instead of depending on electric light.
“I think that’s really unfortunate move by the legislature. One of the most cost-effective measures anyone can make is in the industry field is putting money into efficient buildings upfront,” Danner said .
Concerns About Fracking
Kinnaird also touched on her worries about fracking.
Last year, hydraulic fracturing—otherwise known as “fracking”— was formally legalized in North Carolina. Since then, the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission has been charged with creating regulations for the procedure.
Several weeks ago, the Commission tried to put rules into place regarding the chemicals used during the fracking process—but the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources is trying to prevent the implementation of that first rule.
“The enabling legislation has already gone through. And now it’s a question of whether it will go through in an environmentally friendly way. Our first look is not too promising,” Danner said.
He believes the Commission’s rule was sound and should have been implemented.
“My concerns are if they are not passing a good rule on the disclosure of chemicals, that doesn’t speak well for the more important rules that will come up,” Danner said. “For example, the depth distance between where fracking can occur and where the aquifer is.”http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/sen-kinnaird-environmental-regulations-completely-swept-aside/
CHAPEL HILL – State residents will have to wait to find out whether the state’s first rule surrounding hydraulic fracturing will be approved—and in the meantime, some local residents are afraid oil industries might have too much influence over any rules that are allowed to exist.
“Here again, if, in the end, there’s no broader consideration for the broader concerns for protecting our water and resources, I have a lack of confidence they’ll write a good rule in that case,” says local science expert Jeff Danner.
Last year, hydraulic fracturing—otherwise known as “fracking”— was formally legalized in North Carolina. Since then, the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission has been charged with creating regulations for the procedure. On Friday, the commission was set to formally vote on its first rule, which stated that miners would have to publically disclose certain chemicals that were being used. But at the last minute, commission members learned they couldn’t consider the rule yet because officials from Haliburton—one of the country’s biggest oil companies—believe it’s overly harsh in its current form.
During fracking, miners drill high-pressure fluid and chemicals into the ground to obtain natural gas. Many local politicians and residents, such as Danner, have questions about how the practice should be monitored to make sure it stays environmentally safe.
Danner says this could be just the beginning of a larger pattern where high-powered oil industries have too much influence over the rule-making process.
“There are many states where the drilling industry has been successful in implementing the rule the way Haliburton wants it, with no disclosure required,” he says. “So, my concern would be that this would be the case.”
And Danner adds that he believes the commission came up with the axed regulation after productive and careful consideration.
“During the months that the commission has been trying to write the rules, they’ve gotten lots of input from all different sources,” he says. “I’m sure it’s been a challenging project, and during that time, I’m sure they considered all of those inputs and came up with this rule. But then, in the end, this big oil field company giant comes in and just is able to influence our state government to turn away from the commission’s work.”
The commission’s rule is now set to be revised by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.