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Fracking's on the Fast Track in NC

From: North Carolina News Service
Length: 01:37

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RALEIGH, N.C. - Fracking is on the fast track in North Carolina. A state Senate bill already has passed, and now the House, after making some changes of its own in the legislation, is expected to vote on its version of the plan on Thursday. Read the full description.

Default-piece-image-1 RALEIGH, N.C. - Fracking is on the fast track in North Carolina.

A state Senate bill already has passed, and now the House, after making some changes of its own in the legislation, is expected to vote on its version of the plan on Thursday.

Fracking - hydraulic fracturing - involves drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressure to extract natural gas.

Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina, questions why legislators are moving with such speed.

"Their insistence upon doing this now is perplexing. There's every reason to wait, and not a single reason to move forward so quickly."

Creating the state regulations to properly govern the practice of fracking could take years, says Ouzts. She thinks the bill's deadline of October 2014 to have them in place is unrealistic, and says there is already a large supply of natural gas in the United States, and wholesale gas prices are at an all-time low.

"There's all of this sort of wasted effort. There's wasted government effort into crafting these regulations for an industry that may never even come here. It's just simply not worth the risk to our water and our air."

Supporters of fracking say lifting the ban will bring jobs to the state. Ouzts and others say the benefit is outweighed by the environmental impact, which already has been a problem in other states. The water table also is much closer to the shale gas resource in North Carolina, she says, which could put the water supply at greater risk.

Ouzts says her group and others are concerned about possible risks to groundwater and air quality. Bill supporters expect the Senate to approve the House changes, with the legislation arriving soon on the governor's desk.

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Piece Description

RALEIGH, N.C. - Fracking is on the fast track in North Carolina.

A state Senate bill already has passed, and now the House, after making some changes of its own in the legislation, is expected to vote on its version of the plan on Thursday.

Fracking - hydraulic fracturing - involves drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressure to extract natural gas.

Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina, questions why legislators are moving with such speed.

"Their insistence upon doing this now is perplexing. There's every reason to wait, and not a single reason to move forward so quickly."

Creating the state regulations to properly govern the practice of fracking could take years, says Ouzts. She thinks the bill's deadline of October 2014 to have them in place is unrealistic, and says there is already a large supply of natural gas in the United States, and wholesale gas prices are at an all-time low.

"There's all of this sort of wasted effort. There's wasted government effort into crafting these regulations for an industry that may never even come here. It's just simply not worth the risk to our water and our air."

Supporters of fracking say lifting the ban will bring jobs to the state. Ouzts and others say the benefit is outweighed by the environmental impact, which already has been a problem in other states. The water table also is much closer to the shale gas resource in North Carolina, she says, which could put the water supply at greater risk.

Ouzts says her group and others are concerned about possible risks to groundwater and air quality. Bill supporters expect the Senate to approve the House changes, with the legislation arriving soon on the governor's desk.