Bill passage puts offshore drilling, 'fracking' one step closer

Posted June 14, 2011

The North Carolina House of Representatives voted Tuesday in favor of the Energy Jobs Act, a bill that put the state one step closer to allowing two controversial sources of alternative energy. Supporters of the bill say exploration for natural gas underground, both on land and at sea, would create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. But both processes have opponents, particularly those who worry about possible damage to the environment. 

During the debate, three protesters were removed from the chamber. One shouted, "You just signed the death warrant for the state of North Carolina," before adding an expletive. 

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver says the three were likely to be arrested, though charges were not immediately determined.

Senate Bill 709, the Energy Jobs Act, does not explicitly allow either offshore drilling or hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), but it represents the state’s first steps toward both.

The bill directs the governor to enter a compact with the governors of South Carolina and Virginia to develop a strategy to get the federal government to hear offshore exploration permits and proposals.

The governors also would lobby Congress so the states can get natural gas or oil royalties.

Gov. Bev Perdue and lawmakers also would get a report by next year about the commercial potential for inland natural gas production through "fracking." 

"I think it's time to get crackin' on frackin,'" Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford) said Monday in support of the bill.

Fracking, which uses pressure from liquid to split rock and release natural gas, has been a subject of debate nationwide. In some states, it is in widespread use and has resulted in new sources of energy, jobs and profits for landowners. In others, lawmakers are considering a ban on the process because of worries that the chemicals used in the liquid could leak into and contaminate groundwater.

The Senate is expected to sign off on the bill Wednesday and send it to the governor for her signature.


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  • SARCASTICLES Jun 15, 2011

    "Look into the TV.....focus on the soooooothing voice of the "AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE" siren......see? It's a FRIENDLY, MAGICAL place where jobs are created by the MILLIONS!" (mostly hedge-fund managers) ;)

  • Common Nonsensical Jun 15, 2011

    "There are support jobs to transport workers back and forth from the rigs. Maintenance for those boats. Local food must be provided and shipped to the rigs. Standard electrical and plumbing works on the rigs. Rig folks need a place to live on land. These workers tend to spend a lot of money when on land. The list is endless."

    Tourism does much the same thing with far fewer issues.

  • mep Jun 15, 2011

    geosol... Typical liberal response... My sarcastic reply is: No NC has plenty of good paying jobs... lets let the oil and natural gas stay where it is. No one needs it and its not worth much anyhow.

    Oil rigs provide plenty of low skill (high risk/high paying jobs). There are support jobs to transport workers back and forth from the rigs. Maintenance for those boats. Local food must be provided and shipped to the rigs. Standard electrical and plumbing works on the rigs. Rig folks need a place to live on land. These workers tend to spend a lot of money when on land. The list is endless.

  • bigal02282 Jun 15, 2011

    I see someone didn't like my ideas on testing fracking. Oh WELL (pun intended). But for those of you who think that opening up drilling and fracking will be a huge jobs panacea for our state, think again. The workers in all of the other areas where fracking and drilling have occurred have all come from the areas where the big drillers operate. These are highly skilled jobs as far as the actual engineering is concerned, and the cheap labor will come from the same places cheap labor always comes from. And it won't be from around here. The supporting industries will see more business, but just how many waiters does a restaurant need anyway? I might invest in the porta-potty biz cause they'll be delivering. But that's about it. The only jobs for locals will be cleaning up the mess left behind. I know you hate reading those liberal lamestream media type publications, but the NY papers have a number of articles describing what is happening there and in PA. Worth reading.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jun 15, 2011

    "We'll test out the current fracking methods in Keepin_it_real's colon. "

    Who?? You hitting on me?

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jun 15, 2011

    "Now, the United Stated consumes 20 million barrels a day. That comes out at less than 3 years worth of oil. How is this supposed to get us off foreign oil again?"

    This is the same liberal logic that keeps people on unemployment government handouts for 99 weeks. Since they can't find a job that pays more than the handouts or pays what they were making before, they just sit around doing nothing.

  • geosol Jun 15, 2011

    "Contrary to left wing reports, the US has a whole lot of oil... and a lot more that has yet to be discovered". Well then, there's no need to turn North Carolina into a cross between Texas and New Jersey, is there?

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jun 15, 2011

    Liberals must really hate advancement. Obama is blaming ATMs and Kiosk for the economic problems. GOLO libs don't want us creating jobs in NC by drilling for oil.

  • Taxpayer22 Jun 15, 2011

    Common NonSensical:

    You aren't incorporating the servicing and insuring cost that come along with solar and wind alternatives. Not against the idea by any means. Just saying the cost will always be more.

    The cost associated with drilling a well, maintaining it, fracking is not nearly as much as oil production. It is a third of the cost and that is why it will cost less for consumers.

    They are developing electric cars and I see your point. They also have cars running on natural gas. UPS in Atlanta is all natural gas, State Governments have switched to Natural Gas. However, if we want to focus on helping the environment we need to focus on adoption. Electric and Natural Gas seems to be the two best options. My point is...the more we add to the mix the less effective we will be.

  • ghermie1 Jun 15, 2011

    source needed for loose change statistic