Local News

Residents fractured over fracking in Lee County shale basin

Posted March 20, 2012
Updated March 21, 2012

— For hundreds of people who showed up in Sanford Tuesday night for a public hearing about natural gas drilling in North Carolina, fracking is a dirty word. Others, however, said they're open to cautious energy exploration that could help the state's struggling economy.

"We do not need fracking in North Carolina. In fact, it should be banned internationally," said Raleigh resident Melissa Lomax. "It is a debacle as far as the environment. It's an unregulated industry."

Despite concerns about fracking, state environmental officials said last week that the controversial method of natural gas drilling can be done safely if regulations are put in place first.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of drilling horizontally into underground deposits of shale and then pumping a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals into a well to break apart the rock and release natural gas.

Gov. Beverly Perdue also said last week that she was open to fracking in North Carolina "if you regulate it and put fees in place to have inspectors on the ground." 

But many residents along the Deep River Shale Basin in Lee County, a probable site for fracking, were outspoken in their opposition Tuesday.

For advocacy group Earth First, the concern is all about environmental impact.

"We are here to speak our mind and tell people we don't think there is any way you can regulate fracking that will protect the environment and communities," said Earth First spokeswoman Tamara Matheson.

Bob Joyce, president of the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, said he supports fracking because it is likely to bring jobs to the area. Residents fractured over fracking in Lee County shale basin Sanford residents fractured over fracking

"Jobs are very important. The jobless rate went back up above 13 percent this month," said Bob Joyce, president of the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce. "We are very concerned about that, but we think the careful development of natural gas in Lee County could be a boon to the state and a boon to our business community here."

Another public hearing on the issue is scheduled for March 27 in Chapel Hill. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is expected to give its final report on fracking to the General Assembly in May.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • beaulahjackson4 Mar 22, 2012


    Yes, you are correct I did indeed misunderstand. My sincerest apologies.

  • mswayze Mar 22, 2012

    my post of links with frack info doesn't meet the requirements I guess.
    how bout clean water onsite at fracking site
    fracking cleanup?


  • AvidReader378 Mar 22, 2012

    In addition to the risk to ground water, and what no one really talks about, is the large amount of water used in the process and the polluted water that results from the drilling process. A quote from Wikipidia: Water is by far the largest component of fracking fluids. The initial drilling operation itself may consume from 65,000 gallons to 600,000 gallons of fracking fluids. Over its lifetime an average well will require up to an additional 5 million gallons of water for the initial fracking operation and possible restimulation frac jobs.[54]

    I read on the National Geographic website that there is no new water. What exists on earth is all we have. Rain is not 'new' water, but is evaporated water falling back to the ground.
    Fracking is already banned in France due to environmental & health issues and there is a moratorium in Quebec. Invest in solar & wind as an energy resource & jobs creation.

  • piene2 Mar 22, 2012

    We all need to drive electric cars. Global warming is killing us. abbynork"

    Absolutely true, we are waiting with great anticipation for our Nissan Leaf.

    Typical! Typical!! Typical!!! Yes! Let's ALLLL get Nissan Leafs...and your Messiah is closing coal-fired electric plants left and right that provide the electricity. What are you going to put in that soon-to-be planter that'll be parked in your driveway?? I'll wave to you as I drive by in my SUV!
    Buck Farack

    Yes as know gasoline springs clean and pure from the ground and takes no energy to produce. I shall continue watching you travel through life leaving a trail of filth wherever you go. I on the other hand care about the environment and enjoy knowing that my life will be a contribution to the future instead of a detriment. And incidentally closing coal fired power plants is a wonderful thing. We shall be forced to develop alternate energy. Since Americans are too stupid to do it on their own, force is the only alternative.

  • eddybal Mar 21, 2012

    Buck Farack. While you might live in an area with surface water sources for your drinking water, in many other areas ground water is the source of drinking water.

  • Buck Farack Mar 21, 2012

    The water I drink falls from the sky into the lake and is then cleaned by a treatment plant paid for with my tax dollars.
    You want your water straight from the ground, go ahead...ITS YOUR CHOICE!! Just don't bother me with your problems!

  • hardycitrus Mar 21, 2012

    In PA they even drill right around water reservoirs, risking a million gallon blowout and runoff right into the county water supply.

    When people protested, they were told the only regulations that applied were about excessive noise at night. But there were basically no safety regulations at all.

  • hardycitrus Mar 21, 2012

    >>..Seriously? HUH? I am completely against fracking..beaulahjackson4

    You may have misread "shouldn't" as "should?"

  • SFSOLDIER Mar 21, 2012

    It is an unsafe procedure and will cause more environmental problems than it is worth. Who doesn't want cheap heat or more jobs, but this is not the answer.

  • mswayze Mar 21, 2012

    Really need to get monies up front to fix the later prolems of 'drill baby drill' even with the benefits.