Blake and Boles Discuss Fracking Bill at SOS
On Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. at the Southern Pines Civic Club, Save Our Sandhills will follow up the recent screening of the movie "Gasland" with an open question-and-answer panel discussion that will feature Sen. Harris Blake and Rep. Jamie Boles explaining their position to endorse North Carolina's Senate Bill 709.
This bill, called the Energy Jobs Bill, has polarized critics because, though it calls for additional studies on fracking, it does not call for an assessment of on-the-ground environmental impacts.
There is a natural gas drilling boom sweeping across the United States, and it is about to reach Lee County and northern Moore County. Geologists believe that there is a major sub-basin of natural gas that extends from Granville County above Durham southward through the Sanford area and into Moore County to the vicinity of Carthage.
It's been estimated that this area could yield as much as a 40-year supply of natural gas. Fracking of natural gas wells would take place in northern Moore County within the Triassic Deep River Basin/Sanford Sub-basin, and it could have great implications through all of Moore County.
"We keep hearing that fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been around for decades," says a spokesman. "Therefore, why the big fuss now?"
Until recently, natural gas drilling consisted of "vertical" wells being drilled or fracked in order to retrieve the gas from porous rocks such as limestone and sandstone. Other gas in tight rock formations, such as shale, tight sand and coal beds, was uneconomical to extract until fracking with "horizontal" wells was conceived.
This method of drilling involves injecting more than a million gallons of water and sand, as well as a toxic cocktail of chemicals under high pressure into the rock formation to release the gas. It has been estimated that over a four-year period, up to 140 million gallons of water can be used by just one gas well.
"Anyone who has lived in Moore County knows that water is a perennial concern in the Sandhills, both in terms of quantity and quality," says a spokesman. "In fact, Moore County finds it necessary to garner water outside of its borders. State regulation of water in North Carolina would be wise, but this is still in its infancy stages."
The North Carolina legislature commissioned the North Carolina Water Allocation Study several years ago. The team recommended water conservation goals, budgeting in each of the state's 17 major river basins, a state permit system for water withdrawals more than 100,000 gallons per day, and water rate issues. Bills on this are still in limbo. In the meantime, those who use more than 100,000 gallons of water a day must merely document what they use. They are not restricted in any way.
"Not only will our elected officials be called upon to explain their positions concerning the benefits and safety of this highly controversial new fracking process for deep shale wells, but Save Our Sandhills will have other experts to provide a balanced discussion and insight into related issues regarding drilling and the leasing of mineral rights," says the spokesman.
These experts will include an attorney from Southern Environmental Law Center and a mineral rights coordinator from Rural Advancement Foundation International.
There are many questions that need to be answered: What are the true economic consequences of shale gas drilling? With the tremendous amounts of water required - and the lack of it in Moore County - who gets first rights to water: drillers, farmers, residents, other businesses? Is there enough water to go around? Can our ground water and, therefore, our drinking water be contaminated by chemicals? Would wastewater treatment plants be apprised of all the chemicals in order to know how - and if - the water can be purified? What will be the environmental effects of the fracking wastewater containment ponds? Will fracking be exempted from the 2005 Safe Water Drinking Act because of the "Halliburton Loophole"? Of utmost importance, the basic question remains: Is fracking safe?
"Now, with two bills having been passed in North Carolina, Senate Bill 709 and House Bill 242, we owe it to ourselves to be informed citizens and insist that our representatives respond to our concerns," says the spokesman.
Refreshments will be served. The Southern Pines Civic Club is located at the corner of Ashe Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
More like this story