Moore County cautious of fracking in Sandhills
Posted May 19, 2014
Pinehurst, N.C. — Drilling for natural gas may be a rare sight in Moore County, some officials say.
Charles Holbrook, a member of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission, said an estimated 80 percent to 85 percent of the Sanford subbasin shale containing gas is in Lee County. Holbrook said most of the rest of the subbasin is in Chatham County, with only about 5 percent to 10 percent in Moore County.
Holbrook is a 74-year-old retired Chevron executive. He lives in Pinehurst and served on the village's water committee, which has since dissolved.
"I tell them there's almost no chance that there will be any oil and gas development anywhere close to Pinehurst," home to world-famous golf courses, he said. Holbrook also says there would be no drilling near local horse farms or the aquifer in Pinehurst that supplies the county's water system.
But people in Moore County still have questions about fracking. In March, close to 100 people turned out for a "cautionary tales tour" that came to a Pinehurst church.
The audience listened to a homeowner in Iowa, where silica sand mines operate to supply fracking operations, and an upstate New York resident active with the Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.
For nearly six years, New York has had a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, pending a review by the state Department of Health.
Larry Caddell, chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners, said North Carolina is not going to allow communities to adopt their own drilling rules.
"To be honest, we have just stayed out of it," Caddell said. "There's nothing we can do."
Caddell said he was not aware of any gas leases that have been signed locally.
"I don't think it's going to be a big deal for Moore County," he said.