Perdue vetoes controversial fracking bill

Posted July 1, 2012

— Gov. Bev Perdue announced Sunday that she has vetoed a controversial proposal to legalize fracking in North Carolina.

The bill, Senate Bill 820, was backed by Republican leaders in the House and Senate, who said it would give state regulators up to two years to implement rules. Lawmakers would have to approve those rules before any commercial wells could be drilled.

But environmental advocates pushed Perdue to veto the bill. They say safeguards should be put in place before fracking is legalized, not the other way around.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Perdue said that, although she supports fracking, the legislation moves too quickly.

"This bill does not do enough to ensure that adequate protections for our drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and safety of our families will be in place before fracking begins," Perdue said.

She says she tried to work with lawmakers, but they refused to negotiate.

"I urged the sponsors of the bill to adopt a few changes to ensure that strong protections would be in place before any fracking would occur," Perdue said. "The General Assembly was unwilling to adopt the changes I suggested. Therefore, I must veto the bill."

Republican leaders accused Perdue of flip-flopping on the issue of fracking. In March, Perdue said she believed hydraulic fracturing could be done safely in North Carolina. In May, the state Department of Natural Resources backed that conclusion after an extensive study of energy exploration in the state. 

Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis said state lawmakers incorporated many of the governor's suggestions to create a bipartisan plan that laid the foundation for developing "affordable, clean energy alternatives."

"Gov. Perdue's latest flip-flop on shale gas exploration is an attempt to slam the brakes on the creation of a vibrant new economic sector in North Carolina," Berger and Tillis said in a joint statement. "We are disappointed, but not surprised, that when decision time neared, she once again caved to her liberal base rather than support the promise of more jobs for our state."

The environmental community praised the governor's veto.

"Gov. Perdue stood up for our drinking water today," said Elizabeth Ouzts, director of Environment North Carolina. "She stood up for our air quality and our rural landscapes, and against this dangerous approach to fracking."

The N.C. Sierra Club called the proposed legislation "misguided" and said it put drinking water at risk of contamination.

"We hope the legislature will turn its focus to finding ways to develop real energy solutions, like solar and offshore wind, that will create long-term jobs while keeping our air and water clean," said Sierra Club State Director Molly Diggins.

Fracking supporters accused Perdue of killing job opportunities in North Carolina for the sake of politics.

"Today Gov. Perdue went back on her word and against her own Department of Natural Resources, who stated that energy exploration could be safely achieved in North Carolina. Once again Gov. Perdue has vetoed North Carolina citizens out of good-paying energy jobs," Dallas Woodhouse, state director of Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement. 

"Perdue decided that North Carolina citizens should continue to suffer crippling unemployment," Woodhouse added.

It's the second time Perdue has stopped legislation that would move the state toward fracking. Last year, she vetoed a proposal with far fewer safeguards. Republican leaders have not yet been able to override that veto.

Perdue has vetoed two other major bills in recent days – the Racial Justice Act repeal, and the state budget. Lawmakers are expected to attempt to override all three vetoes Monday or Tuesday.


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  • djcnty8 Jul 3, 2012

    How about releasing a list of how each Senator voted for when they are up for reelection? I do not support this bill and want to make sure my voice is represented better as it was not this time.

  • donkeypendergraph Jul 3, 2012

    frack on!

  • Mon Account Jul 2, 2012

    "Why is this not a PUBLIC vote and instead decided by politicians?" - jbw3

    We elect the officials, then let them make decisions. We're a representative republic.

    After Amendment 1 I doubt voting changes like this would be a good idea anyway.

  • NCHighlander Jul 2, 2012

    We don't need fracking in this state. It will destroy the environment. Don't believe me? Just take a trip up to Pennsylvania where it's happening. Lots of jobs, but environment is destroyed. Ipromiseitwonthurt

    God!! Pennsylvania has been destroyed and the news medias haven't even reported it. I'm going somewhere and hide!!!!!

  • leathawood Jul 2, 2012

    This is your wake up call America! Remember this list of Environmental disasters caused by humans: the Love Canal. Seveso disaster 1976, Bhopal disaster, 1984, Chernobyl disaster 1986, Exxon Valdez oil spill 1989, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010? If you research these disasters you will find that no envirmental study by enviormental agencies were done before the projects were sent in place.
    Are jobs more important than having safe water, soil and air? Our children should not to be placed behind our montary values. We ask the EPA, other enviromental agencies and private groups,” Planet Guards” to have one year time to discover ways that Fracking will cause enviromental problems. All reports to be given to the nation as the Planet Guards discover potencial Earth damage. This will the Fracking Companies to address the issues to present ways to prevent?/epair noted enviroment issues.
    If our lungs are burning with polluted air, our bellies ache with hunger because our food grows

  • Platinum Jul 2, 2012

    Allowing the state of North Carolina to succumb to the empty promises and reassurances of the oil and gas industry would be the worst, most regressive move we could make. Extractive industries in the pursuit of energy are regressive, potentially very devastating to our water supply and the chemicals are known carcinogens. Why? To line the pockets of executives. Very few jobs will be created. How will we fare when home values plummet and our water quality is so poor that drinking water has to be trucked in by big bottling companies, who have won huge contracts ahead of time from these same crooked politicians? We need to wake up! This is NOT a partisan issue, this is a human issue. I don't care for Perdue (and I'm a life-long Democrat) but in this case, she did the right thing.

  • Ipromiseitwonthurt Jul 2, 2012

    We don't need fracking in this state. It will destroy the environment. Don't believe me? Just take a trip up to Pennsylvania where it's happening. Lots of jobs, but environment is destroyed.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Jul 2, 2012

    She just loves vetoing. I guess that is the only thing she really know how to do.

  • VT1994Hokie Jul 2, 2012

    Her best move yet!!!

  • mayhem Jul 2, 2012

    "Perdue decided that North Carolina citizens should continue to suffer crippling unemployment," Woodhouse added.

    That's the silliest statement I've read in a long time.