Local News

NC towns look to head off 'fracking'

Posted January 4, 2012

— As state officials study the impact of oil and natural gas exploration in North Carolina, some area cities and towns are adopting ordinances to get ahead of the issue.

The Creedmoor City Council recently unanimously passed an ordinance to ban a controversial method of gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing within the city limits, and Cary is considering a similar measure.

The drilling, which also is referred to as "fracking," involves pumping a mix of water and chemicals into a drilled well to break apart deposits of underground shale and release natural gas.

Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss said Wednesday that he and other council members are concerned about water contamination from fracking. Some homeowners in Pennsylvania, where gas wells are common, have seen increasing levels of methane in their well water.

"We wanted to get out in front on this particular issue and let our local legislators know this is not something we want for our community," Moss said.

Because Creedmoor sits at the headwaters of Falls Lake, which is the primary source of drinking water for Raleigh and several Wake County towns, he said the town needs to take steps to ensure that reservoir is protected.

Creedmoor passes fracking ban, Cary could follow Creedmoor passes fracking ban, Cary could follow

City officials also are concerned about heavy trucks tearing up Creedmoor's streets and a drop in nearby property values, Moss said.

"Our roads are already strained now and this will add more stress than is needed,” he said.

Each well brings an increase in truck traffic, as drilling equipment, water, sand and chemicals are brought in and gas is piped out.

Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said he doesn't think gas drilling would impact drinking water in the town, but it could affect residents who use well water. The Town Council asked staff last month to look at the pros and cons of fracking and report back.

Moss acknowledged that the ordinance is primarily symbolic, since any state law allowing fracking would trump local regulations.

Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 709 in June, which asks state Department of Environment and Natural Resources to study oil and gas exploration in North Carolina.

Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed the measure. The Senate voted to override the veto, but the House hasn't yet taken up the measure.

Moss said cities and towns hold the power to allow or not allow companies to locate within their boundaries.

"We can control the above-ground infrastructure in our community from a zoning perspective," he said, noting the Creedmoor City Council would likely deny the needed permits for a gas company to operate in town.

"We are responsible locally for our citizens' quality of life," he said.


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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  • uncwilm Jan 6, 9:42 a.m.

    So the liberals that don't want fracking because of the risk to water supply are the same one who are making up put light bulbs in our homes and landfills with mercury in them, correct????

  • wattsun Jan 5, 4:43 p.m.


  • haggis basher Jan 5, 3:58 p.m.

    "Holy Cow Haggis... did we actually agree on something??????????????"

    Simple probability...you couldn't always be wrong :)

  • wattsun Jan 5, 2:27 p.m.

    Holy Cow Haggis... did we actually agree on something??????????????

  • haggis basher Jan 5, 1:28 p.m.

    "I guess all these people yelling how we need these 8 dollar an hour jobs will find out how precious a resource water is ."

    And the water would be polluted forever decades perhaps centuries in return for a few years jobs for a few and making a few rich even richer.

  • wattsun Jan 5, 1:11 p.m.

    Bad Idea NC #2 as is Bad Idea #1 the Sanderson Farms Chicken plant in Rocky Mount that is going to strangle the already burdened Neuse river.
    When NC has no drinkable fresh water , yes that you Raleigh included left I guess all these people yelling how we need these 8 dollar an hour jobs will find out how precious a resource water is .

  • haggis basher Jan 5, 12:02 p.m.

    "SUV'S!! REALLY, Norm?? Are you still beating that dead horse???"

    Whats dead about it? Did they suddenly become less gas guzzling?

  • Buck Farack Jan 5, 11:31 a.m.

    "Maybe we should try to waste less on suv's so we won't need to import or use more oil...Normson7

    SUV'S!! REALLY, Norm?? Are you still beating that dead horse???

  • trekkie13 Jan 5, 11:08 a.m.

    The news article stated: "Moss said cities and towns hold the power to allow or not allow companies to locate within their boundaries."

    If the General Assembly votes on a bill allowing "fracking" in specific cities then it is irrelevant what type of ordinances local governments enact to ban "fracking'. Just as federal laws trump state laws when they conflict in the same manner state laws trump local ordinances when they conflict. Cities are entities that exist due to state government permission and state authorization to incorporate.

  • haggis basher Jan 5, 9:56 a.m.

    "The United States exported 98 million barrels more of fuel than it imported in the first 10 months of 2011. Just a few years ago, in 2005, the country imported almost 900 million barrels of fuel. this has been in the news a lot , where you been?"

    LOL thats REFINED fuel (ie petrol, Diesel etc), not crude oil.