Monday, May 12, 2014

Slow Down on Fracking

 The North Carolina General Assembly approved fracking last year. Currently the process is at the point where the panel who is writing the recommendations as far as the rules and regulations is awaiting approval of a bill to extend the deadline for those regulations. The bill will probably pass.
The bill should pass provided a controversial part of it is changed, because it will give the panel more time to make recommendations and to get more counsel. More time and patience should be the theme for this panel. Fracking is divisive issue in the state and we need to listen to both sides before a decision is made.
A controversial provision in the bill is that the chemicals which are used in the Fracking process would be classified as "trade secrets" of the companies doing the process. The only time that the list of chemicals would be made available would be to first responders in the event of an emergency.
This provision is very bad in my view. First, we the people, should know all the facts before this process gets the full green light. I think withholding this information is wrong. Let's put all the options on the table and lets see what happens. It sounds like to me that the oil and gas industry is afraid of the failure of the legislation if the chemicals are known. Why? Are the chemicals so toxic and so terrible that the very mention of their names will ensure panic and opposition? What are they afraid of, or better yet what are they hiding?
The next concern I would have about fracking is the zoning rights. I think the zoning should be two fold. First the County in which the property resides must have zoning regulations that allow it. Second, that the local municipality should have zoning privileges as well. If they get both the county and local municipal zoning privileges than and only then can the fracking take place.
Another concern I would have would be contingency planning. The companies involved should have ESCROW account set up for clean-up, disaster relief, and victim compensation. On the state level, we need to have disaster and relief plans drawn up in the rare but possible event of an accident.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered on fracking. I am all for energy exploration and for energy independence, but these questions and valid points need to be addressed.
I would encourage all Moore County citizens to write, call, or e-mail Jamie Boles and Jerry Tillman and tell them that we in Moore County want to know what is being put into the ground.

Jamie Boles
House District 52

Jerry Tillman
Senate District 29


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