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Today @NCCapitol (March 10): Redistricting, 'fracking' bills headline the day

Posted March 10, 2015

— Good morning and welcome to Today @NCCapitol for Tuesday, March 10. Here's what's going at at the legislature and around state government.

FRACKING: Controversial legislative language that would govern air quality standards for natural gas drilling operations will be back in in a legislative committee the week after it was scuttled during House debate on a separate bill.

Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said Monday night that he would try again to push the amendment, which would remove a requirement that the state's Environmental Management Commission adopt air quality standards for drilling operations exploring for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, which is often called "fracking." When that amendment failed last week, his colleagues grumbled that he had sprung the legislation on them unannounced and not clearly explained.

Meanwhile, a trio of Wake County Republicans, including freshman Rep. Gary Pendleton, Rep. Nelson Dollar and Rep. Chris Malone, filed a bill Monday that would make the state's air quality standards more stringent for fracking.

"Current rules to oversee natural gas development fail to address equipment leaks and harmful air pollution caused by the natural gas industry," said David Kelly, senior analyst with the Environmental Defense Fund.

Of the Pendleton measure, he said, "This bill provides clear direction to the EMC to develop rules that can help protect our communities and families from dangerous air pollution. With permitting set to begin soon, state decision-makers must waste no time developing rules to protect the air we all breathe. This bill helps to address one of several gaps in the state's natural gas rules."

BUDGET: If you missed Gov. Pat McCrory's $21.5 billion budget proposal rollout last week, lawmakers will be hosting an encore rendition during a Joint Appropriations Committee meeting Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Budget Director Lee Roberts is expected to review the plan for lawmakers and field questions.

WAKE DISTRICTING: The measure redrawing the district lines for Wake County commissioners is scheduled to be heard and voted on during the Senate Redistricting Committee session at 3 p.m.

SENATE: The state Senate is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. The chamber has a pair of relatively non-controversial bills on its agenda, including one creating a permanent civil no-contact that can placed against certain sex offenders by their victims.

HOUSE: The state House is scheduled to meet at 2:30 p.m. The floor calendar is a mix of local bills and relatively uncontroversial measures.

GOVERNOR: McCrory is scheduled to meet with his Teacher Advisory Committee at 1 p.m. in Durham.

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  • Phil Larson Mar 10, 2015
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    Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said Monday night that he would try again to push the amendment, which would remove a requirement that the state's Environmental Management Commission adopt air quality standards for drilling operations exploring for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, which is often called "fracking." When that amendment failed last week, his colleagues grumbled that he had sprung the legislation on them unannounced and not clearly explained.

    Rep. Hager said. "my bad, the explanation is so the oil companies won't get in trouble when they polute the air silly willies", at which point everyone busted out laughing and started patting each other on the back, "well alrighty then, why didn't you say so?" responding Hager's colleagues.