Raleigh, N.C. — With the Dan River coal ash spill dominating headlines in North Carolina in recent weeks, opponents of natural gas drilling have turned to singer-songwriter James Taylor to keep their cause in front of people as the state drafts rules for drilling in the coming months.
The 30-second ad sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council and featuring Taylor, a Chapel Hill native and longtime NRDC trustee, began airing statewide Thursday.
As his iconic song "Carolina in My Mind" plays in the background, Taylor talks over images of drilling rigs and jars of filthy water, along with headlines about the General Assembly's plans to open the state up to the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
Gov. Pat McCrory last month listed expanding North Carolina's energy industry among his priorities for 2014.
The state Mining and Energy Commission has been devising regulations for drilling companies in recent months, and public hearings on the proposed rules are expected this summer. Lawmakers will have to approve the final regulations early next year before any permits can be issued.
"Carolina's always in my mind, so please join me, and let's stand up to fracking," Taylor says in the spot.