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NC begins drafting fracking rules
State lifts moratorium on drilling
 
Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:06 pm
by Stephanie Carson, N.C. News Service

RALEIGH – It seems the devil is in the details for fracking in North Carolina.


The first public hearing on draft rules that will regulate the fracking industry in North Carolina was held Wednesday, after lawmakers lifted the state moratorium on fracking earlier this year. The state's Mining and Energy Commission is now charged with making sure the practice, which involves injecting toxic liquid into the ground to extract natural gas, is safe.


State Representative Dwayne Hall in western North Carolina's 11th district voted against lifting the moratorium.


"The rules are going to be created too quickly, and I'm afraid they're going to be far too loose," says Hall. "They're not including an actual scientist in the discussion, and I feel actual scientists should be part of the rule-making process."


Supporters of hydraulic fracturing say it will help provide another source of natural gas, while members of the environmental and medical community are concerned about the chemicals used in the process. The Mining and Energy Commission is currently considering the regulation of established fracking drilling, as opposed to exploratory drilling.


Dr. Susan DeLaney with Medical Advocates for Healthy Air spoke at the hearing, and said the proposal leaves North Carolina vulnerable.


"It exempts the exploratory drilling, small drillers and wildcat drillers, and those are the people coming to North Carolina," she said.


While companies are not required to disclose the exact ingredients of their fracking fluid, independent tests in states where it is allowed show ingredients such as formaldehyde and methanol. DeLaney is concerned about what her colleagues are observing in places like Pennsylvania, where some groundwater is already contaminated.


"My medical colleagues are seeing children with nosebleeds, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, skin rashes and breathing difficulties," says DeLaney. "These are all signs of acute chemical poisoning."


The Mining and Energy Commission is scheduled to finish its work on the state's fracking rules by January. They are scheduled to take effect in March.

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