Raleigh, N.C. — The state commission tasked with developing regulations that would allow for expanded natural gas drilling in North Carolina will hear from the public Wednesday in a second day of meetings in downtown Raleigh.
The Mining and Energy commission has until 2014 to draft rules for drilling, including the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The process involves horizontal drilling through underground shale deposits and injecting a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals into the well to break apart the rock and release trapped natural gas.
After discussing water use and waste management Tuesday, commission members on Wednesday will discuss forced pooling, a method by which energy companies can potentially force land owners into lease agreements that allow the companies to drill on their land.
Wednesday’s meeting will also include a public comment period for 10 speakers, each of whom will get three minutes to describe their thoughts about fracking. Despite lacking a forum inside the commission’s meeting Tuesday, those against the controversial drilling process made their opinions known.
Four protesters, including two who padlocked themselves to the doors of the Archdale Building, were arrested Tuesday morning as the commission met inside.
Tamara Matheson and Vincent Michael Gonzalez were charged with disorderly conduct in a public building.
"We are not going to let profiteers exploit and endanger our land and our loved ones," said Maria Roan, a member of the environmental group Earth First! "This hydraulic fracturing has never been done safely. There's been contaminated water. There's been exploding pipelines."
Drilling opponents say fracking will contaminate North Carolina's underground water supplies and would compete with other water uses during droughts.