NC fracking opponents march in Raleigh
Posted May 19, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. — Demonstrators who oppose a form of shale gas exploration marched to the building where North Carolina lawmakers may soon decide whether to allow the procedure in the state.
Members of environmental groups gathered Saturday in a Raleigh park and marched to the Legislative Building.
North Carolina is sitting on top of large natural gas reserves, which could be retrieved using a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It involves injecting a drilled well with chemically treated water and sand to crack shale rock and free trapped natural gas.
The state environment department says fracking can be conducted safely if lawmakers adopt the right precautions. Opponents argue the threat of tainted groundwater isn't worth the risk.
"We're really worried about water contamination, blowouts and spills," said Croatan Earth First organize Tamara Matheson. "It's just PR to them. They will say whatever they need to say to make people feel like it will be safe, even if it can't be."
Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, says he'd like to see a balanced and careful approach.
"That gets us the energy we need and the jobs we desperately need with our need to protect the environment in our state," he said.
Dollar said he expects lawmakers to pass a fracking bill during the current short session. The Senate bill could allow energy companies to begin applying for permits beginning in July 2014.