Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is currently illegal in North Carolina, but that could change in a matter of days. Fracking is a method of horizontal drilling that’s used for the exploration and production of shale gas that involves the high-pressure injection of water and chemicals to draw out the gas. Although a study just released by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources states that fracking “can be done safely,” it makes clear that this is possible only if lawmakers adopt state-specific regulatory standards and invest sufficient resources in compliance and enforcement. Fracking operations in several states is currently connected to polluted drinking water, gas infiltration in underground wells and loss of livestock due to poisonous contamination.
North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho has just introduced a bill before the General Assembly that would legalize fracking even before environmental protections are developed. It would also prevent towns from regulating fracking in any way nor provide any consumer or landowner protections. In order to better understand fracking and its implications for North Carolina and WNC, the Environmental and Conservation Organization (ECO) in conjunction with Clean Water of North Carolina will hold a special forum on Thursday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at the Hendersonville City Operations Center on 305 Williams Street in Hendersonville. This will be an opportunity to learn about fracking, its history throughout the country, current proposals for North Carolina and what type of regulations would be necessary to protect citizens, businesses, and NC’s natural resources.
“Fracking is impacting communities in over 30 states, with growing evidence that no state has been able to prevent contamination, air pollution, loss of economic diversity, and major stresses on local governments,” says Katie Hicks of Clean Water for North Carolina. “Although there are no accessible natural gas deposits in the mountains, it is important that residents statewide learn more about this issue and weigh in with legislators. We have the opportunity to learn from what’s happened in other states before making a decision, but decision-makers in Raleigh want to rush new legislation to legalize fracking.”
This forum is free and open to the public. To find out more, contact ECO at (828) 692-0385 or www.eco-wnc.org. The City Operations Center is at 305 Williams Street off of 4th Avenue East in downtown Hendersonville.