State Report Says Fracking Can Be Done Safely
State environmental officials support legalizing a controversial form of drilling for natural gas, even as drilling companies are curtailing production across the country in the face of depressed prices.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a draft report Friday that recommends legalizing hydraulic fracturing — commonly known as fracking — in the state.
The report comes ahead of a public hearing Tuesday night in Sanford to discuss the issue.
“After reviewing other studies and experiences in oil- and gas-producing states, DENR believes that hydraulic fracturing can be done safely as long as the right protections are in place,” the draft report said. “It will be important to have those measures in place before issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina’s shale formations.”
The report — and any subsequent legislation — is important to northern Moore County, which lies atop the Deep River Basin, where state geologists believe a 40-year supply of natural gas exists.
State Rep. Jamie Boles, who made a “frack-finding” trip to Pennsylvania earlier this year, said DENR’s findings echo his concerns.
“We have an opportunity to create jobs and lessen our reliance on foreign oil,” the Southern Pines Republican said after the draft report was released. “But let’s take advantage of our opportunity to do it right from the get-go and protect the environment. Let’s avoid the mistakes that have been made in other states.”
The draft report contains 20 key recommendations. For more on the story, see Sunday's edition of The Pilot.
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