Drilling bill heads to House floor

Posted May 28, 2014

— A bill that would lift North Carolina’s ban on the controversial natural gas drilling practice known as “fracking” is expected to face debate on the House floor Wednesday after gaining approval from the House Finance Committee.

The committee, which voted 19-14 for the bill, did not hear any amendments, which will be saved for floor debate.

The bill left the start date for fracking up in the air after amendments passed by the House Public Utilities and Energy Committee on Tuesday. Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said fracking is expected to start in North Carolina in late 2015.

But Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina, who spoke during the public comment section of the committee meeting Wednesday, said the bill fast-tracks fracking, breaking lawmakers’ previous promises not to do so.

“This bill would weaken liability requirements for would-be drillers. It usurps local governments,” Ouzts said. “But worst of all, this bill breaks the promise that this body made two years ago.”

Under the new version of the bill, fracking, which she characterized as a dangerous practice that contaminates drinking water, could begin in the state as soon as May 2015, she said.

Newton emphasized the cautious and deliberate rule-making process.

Lawmakers examined the fiscal portions of the bill, raising questions about the low tax on gas and oil, meant as an incentive to draw drilling companies to North Carolina.

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, said higher taxes would lead to more revenue to remedy potential problems that result from fracking.

“Tax rates have nothing to do with the perceived fears that some people have about this process,” Newton said. “It has everything to do with creating jobs.”


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Forthe Newssite May 28, 2014
    user avatar

    Oh yea, and those in favor of this.....have you READ the bill? Do you comprehend that once passed there will be NO RECOURSE by city/local governments to change anything.....and that's just on the surface. And yes I have read the bill!

  • Forthe Newssite May 28, 2014
    user avatar

    Tax rates have nothing to do with the perceived fears that some people have about this process,” Newton said. “It has everything to do with creating jobs.”

    It has NOTHING to do with creating jobs-that is a smoke screen. It has everything to do w/ lining pockets. Those of you for this I URGE you, BEG you, PLEAD with you do do MORE research. Look into the folks in PA who were lied to as we are being....

    This is being pushed through way to fast. It is a HORRIBLE thing if it passes.

  • Jack Jones May 28, 2014
    user avatar

    Hearing that our NCGA is working to fast-track Fracking after promising NC citizens they wouldn't isn't really shocking, however it's very disappointing.

  • Benjamin Wright May 28, 2014
    user avatar

    Fracking is going to provide the jobs our state needs. Good paying jobs for the highly trained citizens of North Carolina. Natural Gas is the clean fuel of the future. Haven't you noticed how much cheaper gasoline is in Texas and Louisianan? It's because they have the oil industry there. It'll be the same here with natural gas.

  • cruzinlong May 28, 2014

    Elizabeth Ouzts, THANK YOU for all you've done and continue to do !!

    Anyone reading this that does not believe fracking has bad consequences for the environment and our health, please to an internet search for :
    List of the Harmed, Pa.
    That website covers real life stories from people in all states where fracking has been going on , people who have been adversely affected by fracking.
    There are links in each story to back up their claims.