Local News

Chapel Hill council, residents take anti-fracking stance

Posted March 27, 2012

— Chapel Hill residents sounded off Tuesday against fracking, one day after the Chapel Hill Town Council took an official stance on the issue, passing a resolution against the controversial drilling method in a 7-2 vote.

State environmental officials held a public hearing at East Chapel Hill High School Tuesday evening on natural gas exploration in central North Carolina, where most attendees expressed emphatic opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

Fracking, which is currently banned in the state, involves 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.

Chapel Hill resident Gordon Gross grew up in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of fracking, and he said he thinks people should be warned about the dangers of the practice.

"When I was a kid, you could walk to any river or stream and drink out of it. Now it would kill you," he said.

Maria Rowan, of Carrboro, said she also has concerns about its safety. 

"There is no way to shoot chemicals into a water table safely. It can't be done," she said. "Those of us who would like to see clean drinking water for our children and grandchildren ... don't want it. We are invested in our future and not just the profit margin right now."

Chapel Hill: 'No fracking, no way' Chapel Hill: 'No fracking, no way'

Albert Eckol, of the N.C. Energy Forum, however, said fracking can be done responsibly and can provide economic benefits to the state, including job creation.

"I think North Carolina is a bit late to the party, but that can serve as a benefit," Eckol said. "It gives us the ability to learn from what other states have done."

It seems the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources agrees. 

The agency issued a draft report saying that regulators believe fracking can be done safely in North Carolina if proper safeguards are put in place first. Those include collecting baseline data for water and air quality, setting setback requirements around drill sites and standards for waste disposal and requiring full disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

DENR is expected to hand its final report over to state lawmakers in May.

On Monday night, the town council approved a resolution opposing fracking in the region without "guaranteed public health and environmental protections."

The resolution cites potential risks to the water supply in Jordan Lake and the possibility that fracking, which requires millions of gallons of water, could exacerbate water shortages during droughts.

Other area towns, including Creedmoor, have adopted ordinances in an effort to keep out gas wells.


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  • commonsense4 Mar 28, 2012

    "People like Mr. Gross who know first hand the problems fracking causes needs to SERIOSLY be listened to."

    What it doesn't go into is that Pennsylvania's waterways are all polluted because the state does not have the proper safeguards in place, and never has. They allow dumping of the wastewater back into waterways - completely ridiculous. The only state with worse laws is West Virginia. Fracking has to be done coupled with a wastewater treatment facility to deal with the polluted water, and the chemicals used should have to go through approvals. Without the proper safeguards no way, but natural gas is cleaner than coal, and yes it isn't the most ideal choice, but we have to be realistic . . . we can't run the whole country on wind, water and solar power!

  • peterpepper Mar 28, 2012

    The only ones that will prosper from this will be the select few landowners who have high potential for gas on their property..their neighors will suffer from traffic, noise , water & ground pollution.
    People like Mr. Gross who know first hand the problems fracking causes needs to SERIOSLY be listened to.

    The drilling & gas co.'s , nearby restaurants & convenience stores will profit also but EVERYONE ELSE SUFFERS !
    As far as job creations from this goes , TOTAL BUNK !!
    Maybe a few truck drivers locally will get jobs, all other gas drilling related jobs will be farmed out to "fracking specialist" from Texas, Oklahoma , Penn. etc.
    We the taxpayers SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO VOTE as to whether fracking will be allowed or not, lets take it to the polls !!

  • commonsense4 Mar 28, 2012

    "Would they consider allowing fracking if they agree not to talk on their CELL PHONE WHILE THEY ARE FRACKING!!!"

    No but they will allow you to talk on your cell phone if you are talking about taking an anti-fracking stance!

  • tightywhitey2 Mar 28, 2012

    Would they consider allowing fracking if they agree not to talk on their CELL PHONE WHILE THEY ARE FRACKING!!!

  • jp534 Mar 28, 2012

    We should put a fence around that place - imagine coming out against hydraulic fracturing without a final report. Of course we've always known that Creedmoor is full of tree hugging liberals out of touch with us real North Carolinians. The bottom line is that hydraulic fracturing can cause extremely significant environmental and public health problems. However, there are thousands and thousands of gas and oil wells hydraulically fractured each year with no environmental damage. To totally abandon the potential benefits to North Carolina based on the remote risks is reckless. An earlier poster mentioned cars, which is a reasonable example. Another is airplanes. Planes can and do crash, so do we ban air travel? No, we ensure that every possible safeguard is taken to avoid such crashes, yet some still occur. Same basic concept with fracking - take every precaution to avoid a problem, yet understand the is a slight risk a problem will occur. It's a balancing act between the rewar

  • jblake1932 Mar 28, 2012

    bullet190: Sorry, did not see your post till I sent mine. Great minds think alike, I guess. : )

  • jblake1932 Mar 28, 2012

    Chapel Hill"- they are against everything!

  • tomfoolery Mar 28, 2012

    Why wait for DENR to release the report? Let's just go ahead and ban it without any real knowledge. Sounds like the libs...

  • Silver bullet1 Mar 28, 2012

    They are against everything!!!

  • cwood3 Mar 28, 2012

    For those of you thinking this kind of reasoning in Chapel Hill is new, wow-are you wrong!! Everything weird, strange, or unususal starts in Chapel Hill or Carrboro. I'm surprised the 2 towns didn't have a joint meeting. Oh that would save electricity. We're supposed to do that-not elected officials. They're above the rest of the simpletons!!

    There will always be pro and con. We need to get the politics out of fracking and get GOOD science in -to see what to do!!

    This type of action calls for LEADERSHIP!! Gov. Bevvie does not know how to spell leadership, much less how to use it!! How can one use what they don't have??

    If it's 99.9% safe, DO IT!! I just want to know that we can safely do this, get some good jobs, and help bring the cost of energy down. Natural gas burns clean and clear. I'd like to use more nat. gas.