McCrory signs gas drilling bill

Posted June 4

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed legislation that would speed up the start of natural gas drilling in North Carolina.

In a signing ceremony inside an engineering building on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, McCrory said the Energy Modernization Act will re-energize rural areas, create high-tech jobs and will help the U.S. become more energy independent.

Lawmakers approved the fast-track bill last week, allowing drilling permits to be issued 60 days after the state Mining and Energy Commission finalizes rules for the industry, despite earlier promises that lawmakers would have to review and approve the rules before a statewide moratorium on drilling could be lifted.

Critics have said the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," could damage nearby water supplies and will force some people to allow drilling on their property without their permission. City officials from across North Carolina also are upset that the measure prohibits them from setting up local zoning requirements for any drilling operations.

McCrory said it's time for North Carolina to get off the sidelines and move forward in energy production.

"Isn't it amazing? We have a lot of critics of this, but at the same time, there are critics that are taking natural gas from other areas and using that," he said. "So, I think we're rather hypocritical in criticizing gas exploration while using gas from other states, and we're going to borrow the best practices from the states, from lessons learned in the past 20 years from this business."

Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources John Skvarla cited issues with well casings, methane leaks and spills as some of the lessons North Carolina picked up elsewhere and will include in its regulations.

Environmentalists said tougher rules won't prevent spills or other potential disaster.

"We've learned from all the mistakes, but the mistakes are still happening every day," said Therese Vick of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

Vick and others say they worry the law is in place before any regulations are.

"The bill as it was passed is awful," she said. "The package that is available for review has a lot of big holes in it."

McCrory said signing the bill was a culmination of five years of debate and review and that getting North Carolina into drilling didn't happen overnight.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • 68_dodge_polara Jun 4, 12:00 p.m.

    So what is the hurry?

  • OleNCNative Jun 4, 12:03 p.m.

    Just something else we'll regret.

  • Taffy Jun 4, 12:06 p.m.

    Sign quick, everyone's got to get the cash into the re-election funds asap!

  • Super Hans Jun 4, 12:08 p.m.

    Screw the poor and middle class- check
    Cushy jobs for his cronies - check
    Tax breaks for the rich - check
    Gut women's health - check
    Make NC a national laughingstock - check
    Destroy our air and drinking water - check

    Dude is on a roll

  • chippers Jun 4, 12:10 p.m.

    No need to worry about the environment or safe drinking water. We can just drink the enormous profits the natural gas companies get from this.

  • Earth Brooks Jun 4, 12:10 p.m.

    One term governor.

  • johnrmccray Jun 4, 12:19 p.m.

    For all in favor of drilling for NG in North Carolina based on the proponent's assertions, check out this article:


    In which assistant state geologists said that exporting the resource (even to other parts of the country) simply wouldn't be viable due to the small amount. The maximum estimated amount is approximately 7.5% of the annual consumption of the United States for 2013!

    Please tell me how this is going to drive such GREAT economic advances?

  • Road-wearier Jun 4, 12:19 p.m.

    Kiss your water goodbye. And prepare to be charged with a felony if you dare share the names of the chemicals the drillers are using.

  • ccsmith1902 Jun 4, 12:19 p.m.

    Laughable that mcCrory stated that he was "reviewing" the bill. He will sign anything for anybody. He is ruining our state educationally, environmentally, etc.

  • GOPtakersSociety Jun 4, 12:20 p.m.

    One term governor.

    — Posted by Earth Brooks

    Yep, and sealed his andf the GOP's fate for generations to come, and you wonder why the Dems were in control for a few decades....