Food watchdog calls for gas drilling investigation

Posted April 4, 2013

— A Washington, D.C.-based food watchdog group is calling on North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to investigate Gov. Pat McCrory over the Republican administration's push to fast-track natural gas drilling in the state. 

In a letter to Cooper, Food and Water Watch points to places where the governor and his administration may have conflicts of interest on the drilling issue. The nonprofit has worked to pass laws in other states banning hydraulic fracturing drilling, or "fracking," and its causes lean to the political left. 

Fracking uses controlled explosions and high-pressure injections of sand, chemicals and water underground. Industry proponents say hydraulic fracturing has been practiced safely for years, while opponents say it threatens water supplies.

Food and Water Watch question why McCrory, a Republican who campaigned on a promise to open the state to fracking, is so vociferously in favor of the practice. 

"What we found are serious conflicts of financial interest and a pattern of political patronage that we urge your office to investigate," the letter to Cooper reads. "The McCrory administration and members of the Mining and Energy Commission and the General Assembly have disturbingly close ties to an industry they seek to regulate." 

The letter does not reveal any new facts about McCrory or his administration but details his career working for Duke Energy and the fact that several of his top appointees are also former Duke employees. It also raises questions about whether members of the Mining and Energy Commission, which will draw the rules for fracking in the state, would stand to profit by the practice. 

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, confirmed that Cooper had received the letter but did not comment on whether his office had jurisdiction to investigate the claims or would attempt to do so. 

The group's letter cites dozens of news reports in its footnotes, including posts from WRAL.com.


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  • Enviro Equipment Inc. Apr 8, 2013

    Here's where environmentalists tend to shoot themselves in the foot when they overstep their bounds (i.e. educating the public and the politicians as to how to protect the environment) start getting into to the realm of partisan politics which is what the group Food and Water Watch is doing by trying to undermine Gov. McCrory's welcoming the hydraulic fracturing into North Carolina. I would be a bit surprised if the North Carolina Democratic Party is doing their best to Give aid To the so-called "food watchdog group" Food and Water Watch.

  • Luvthesky Apr 8, 2013

    Thank Goodness! We don't need this mess in NC. Hopefully the claims will be investigated soon.

  • ChgoGrl Apr 5, 2013

    It's about time! We don't need to turn into another NEPA. If people here think fracking will create jobs go up there and talk to the locals. They'll tell you it only creates jobs for wait staff & hotel staff since most of the jobs are filled by people they bring in from TX, OK, and AR. Funny, even the low paying jobs for those out of state folks are $80K to haul rocks in trucks (24/7) that ruin the roads for the weight. Who's gonna pay for that since they don't! Rents have tripled up there cos they can get these out of staters to pay whatever price they charge cos they need a place to live. Crime is up, even rape, not to mention drunk driving. Nice going NC (that includes you, Bev Purdue, who invited them in here cos they sold you a bill of goods saying it's safe). Now people are finding out that signing a lease to drill automatically causes a default on their mortgage. People here are so gullible! When are you going to realize you can't trust the color RED!

  • 68_dodge_polara Apr 5, 2013

    Witch hunt is too good of a name for this wast of tax money.

  • fedora Apr 4, 2013

    Finally, the rest of the world see the crooked governor for who he is. Toss him out,,before he and his buddies steal everything in site.

  • turkeydance Apr 4, 2013

    part of the Blueprint faction.
    c'mon WRAL. connect the dots.

  • AuntySocial Apr 4, 2013

    They line his pockets and he gives them free reign in the state. The amount of gas that can be obtained through fracking is not worth the damage it will do to the state and all of its inhabitants. Just look at what it has done to Pennsylvania. i don't want it to happen here.