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Perdue open to 'fracking' in NC

Posted March 14, 2012
Updated March 15, 2012

— Months after she vetoed a bill that would have allowed test drilling for natural gas in central North Carolina, Gov. Beverly Perdue said Wednesday that she believes drilling can be done safely in the state.

Perdue recently traveled to Pennsylvania for an industry-sponsored tour of large-scale natural gas drilling operations.

"It's jobs. It's a fuel source produced in this country, and it's something that can help America and North Carolina be globally competitive," the governor said.

A WRAL News crew visited Pennsylvania last fall to examine the debate over a controversial method of gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." The process involves pumping a mix of water and chemicals into a well to break apart deposits of underground shale and release natural gas.

Gov. Beverly Perdue Perdue: 'Fracking' can be done safely

Residents told WRAL News of the economic boon fracking brings, as well as the traffic and environmental worries it creates.

Perdue said that, based on what she saw on her trip, she believes that North Carolina could benefit from the best drilling practices. It makes sense to tap local energy sources as long as regulations are in place, she said.

"From what I saw, fracking can be done safely if you regulate it and put fees in place to have inspectors on the ground," she said. "I think the challenge for us will be to determine the capacity of our supply and whether the folks who live in this community are willing to move forward."

A recent study commissioned by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources found that North Carolina hasn't developed policies and procedures in anticipation of regulating oil and gas exploration and production activities.

Lawmakers ordered DENR last year to study energy exploration in North Carolina, including fracking. DENR officials are expected to release a draft report of their findings in the next few days.

The Sierra Club decried Perdue's statements, saying she should have waited for DENR's report before expressing support for fracking.

"There are serious concerns about what fracking could mean for our air and water. The governor should let her own departmental experts complete their study before rushing into a decision with such vast implications," Molly Diggins, state director of the North Carolina Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Perdue noted that natural gas prices are so low that companies are less likely to rush to states like North Carolina because it's not a profitable investment for them.

109 Comments

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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  • mmtlash Mar 15, 6:36 p.m.

    frick frack I was taking a bath!!!! ;-)

  • qgirl232 Mar 15, 4:20 p.m.

    Relieved. Not betrayed. Gone. Good.

  • working for deadbeats Mar 15, 3:00 p.m.

    But she was going to be sooooooooooooooooo great for Nawf Kalina, right??!!

    How many of you feel betrayed?

  • Relic Mar 15, 2:34 p.m.

    That story title just opens so many doors to jokes that would be deleted here.

    Look for Purdue to do quite a bit more now that she has no onus to be accountable to voters.

  • Whatthehey Mar 15, 2:26 p.m.

    "In fact, we'll be living in the shadow of a large wind farm!"- cheezchicken..."That would be annoying. The noise. Dead birds and bats."

    Uh, no - not unless you live in a houseboat 10 MILES offshore!

  • Whatthehey Mar 15, 2:24 p.m.

    Follow the money to legislators and governor! And remember Bev will be out of a state job soon. Do you really trust her judgment that fracking is safe based on her recent INDUSTRY SPONSORED TRIP to PA?! NC ranks first among Atlantic states for offshore wind power potential; switching from fossil fuels could save the state $2.6 billion each year.
    NC can harness wind to cover 112 percent of its electricity consumption. Offshore wind development would also cost about $36 billion less than offshore oil and gas production - while creating as many as 212,000 clean jobs annually in the US – three times more jobs per dollar than fossil fuel. But N.C. legislators have shown more interest in natural gas exploration than in wind. A wind task force Gov. Perdue created by executive order last summer has yet to meet. "It's been very disappointing that this legislature has been focused almost exclusively on fossil fuels," said Molly Diggins, state director of the Sierra Club.

  • qgirl232 Mar 15, 1:54 p.m.

    I'm sorry. Is this a story about Bev Perdue? Our lame duck Governor? What epiphany did she have? Can you un-Veto a veto? What a hypocrite!

  • cwood3 Mar 15, 1:53 p.m.

    Geosol-is that all you have calling someone a"little rightwinger". I did not think you were THAT shallow!!

    Oh well, Bevvie must have needed a couple of days away on someone else's nickel especially Barack's nickel has dried up since she's not running again. So be it!! She does not matter!!

    Let's see what the report says. Let's get some experts who can tell us if this can be done safely. Instead, the battle with little or no info gets done in the media-especially with name calling like some on the extreme left.

    If it can't be done safely, then we move in another direction.
    Let intelligent scientists and engineers show us both sides of this issue.

    HOWEVER, we must find ways to safely extract the years and years of gas and oil reserves available. Simply ignoring the issue or simply saying NO to every permit that comes along is not the answer as oil prices go thru the roof.

    Let's be smart. A basic "no" or "yes" is not the answer. Science is the answer!!

    ABO-2012!

  • wattsun Mar 15, 1:35 p.m.

    Don't believe the lies propagated by the gas industry. Don't think the EPA has the man power to regulate these sites thoroughly and efficiently as has been proven in PA. This is just another shining example of corporate greed. One other thing that no one is mentioning is the 100's of new tanker trucks that will be introduced to our areas hauling the toxic brew that is pumped into the ground to assist in fracking. On more than one occasion trucks have crashed and caused an environmental nightmare for the surrounding area poisoning the water supply. Fracking also releases cancer causing Radon 225 in the surrounding ground water. Is it a done deal once the water table is poisoned in your area no cleaning that up for decades only the ignorant will say fracking does not harm the water table go visit any area where it goes on and get the truth from the public. Some wells are so contaminated people have been advised not to even shower in their only supply of wateR

  • MakoII Mar 15, 1:28 p.m.

    Perdue is a good example of why NC needs better education.

    I'm sure that fracking can be done safely.

    I'm also sure that cost cutting and mistakes will ENSURE it will NOT be done safely, exposing some areas of the country to irreparable harm to their groundwater systems.

    It's not about the science of fracking. Its about the people and their fallibility.

    But, fine, Destroy North Carolina, Perdue, there are other states for me to move to when this one is destroyed.

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