'Fracking' bill goes to governor

Posted July 23, 2013

— A bill to ease regulations on a natural gas drilling process known as "fracking" in North Carolina has won final approval and is headed to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory.

The final compromise version of Senate Bill 76 is far more modest than the original measure, which would have allowed fracking to move ahead March 1, 2015, without an additional vote by state lawmakers. 

That provision is absent from the final measure, which reinstates the original requirement for legislative approval of the rules for fracking before permits can be issued and drilling can begin. 

The Senate version also abolished the "landmen registry" for agents handling mineral rights leases for landowners, while the House version put the registry back in. In the final version, the state Mining and Energy Commission is directed to study the concept. 

The final version still allows the secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources to replace the state geologist on the Mining and Energy Commission with another designee of his or her choice. It also removes requirements that commission appointees from the Environmental Resources Commission and Commission for Public Health have respective expertise in water and air resources and waste management.

it also still creates an Energy Policy Council and puts new emphasis on offshore oil and gas exploration. 

The compromise, which was closer to the House's version of the bill overall, won approval in the House with little debate Monday by a vote of 70-40.

The Senate followed suit Tuesday, albeit with less enthusiasm. 

"We did the best we could," said Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, the bill's original Senate sponsor. "The House didn’t want to go along with some of the improvements we wanted to make.

"It’s a small step forward. It’s not quite as far as we wanted to go, but it’s the best we could do."

No one spoke against the measure in the Senate. The vote was 37-11.


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  • Krimson Jul 24, 2013

    I remember when Tobacco Companies didn't have to disclose the ingredients in their products... But we trusted them and it turned out OK, didn't it???

  • cruzinlong Jul 24, 2013

    The worse that will come from this per protecting ( LACK OF ) property owners is the fact that a LOT of them who LIVE on their property in these areas don't own their mineral rights...only surface rights.
    This means whoever does own the mineral rights will prob. lease to big Oil and gas and rake in all the $$ from royalites while the surface only owners will have to suffer with pipelines, heavy truck traffic and and INDUSTRIAL SIZE operations going on all over their property within yards of their homes , 24/7 365 , not to mention total strangers wandering around all over their property the entire time, strangers that have been well documented to bring extra CRIME into the fracking areas.

  • kdogwnc Jul 24, 2013

    I'm sure the bill does nothing to protect property owners. There are problems in Pennsylvania where property owners who sign fracking leases are having all kinds of "extra production/distribution costs" withheld from their royalties, meaning that the drillers end up with the gas and the property owners get zilch.

  • linkz145 Jul 24, 2013

    N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Study APril 2012

    Water Quality: In the Sanford sub-basin, there appears to be much less separation between groundwater used for drinking water and the gas-producing layer than in other gas-producing states. Water supply wells of up to 1,000 feet deep have been found in North Carolina's Triassic Basins and the depth to which fresh water extends is unknown. Some of the shale that might be tapped for natural gas in the Triassic Basins of North Carolina lies at depths of 3,000 feet or less. (By contrast, the Pennsylvania shale gas resource lies at depths of roughly 10,000 feet or more and the deepest water supply wells are generally no more than 600 feet deep.)

  • linkz145 Jul 24, 2013

    Didn't I just read something about a gas well burning uncontrollably in the gulf? Good Omen Governor!