Compiled by Jesse Wood
June 5, 2014. Gov. Pat McCroy signed the Energy Modernization Act of 2014 into law on Wednesday. This act lifts the moratorium on fracking and allows for this controversial form of drilling to begin May 2015.
“We remain intensely focused on creating good jobs, particularly in our rural areas,” said Gov. Pat McCrory yesterday. “We have watched and waited as other states moved forward with energy exploration, and it is finally our turn. This legislation will spur economic development at all levels of our economy, not just the energy sector.”
While a release from the governor’s office noted the increased jobs and benefits to the economy with this passage, there was no mention of environmentalist’s concerns about fracking.
Click here to see how legislators in the N.C. House and Senate voted on the bill. Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan voted for the bill.
Below are three statements on the issue:
Governor Pat McCrory Signs Energy Modernization Act of 2014
*From the Governor’s Office
Governor Pat McCrory signed the Energy Modernization Act of 2014 today at N.C. State University, clearing the way for energy exploration, high-tech jobs and new investment in North Carolina’s energy sector
“We remain intensely focused on creating good jobs, particularly in our rural areas,” said Governor McCrory. “We have watched and waited as other states moved forward with energy exploration, and it is finally our turn. This legislation will spur economic development at all levels of our economy, not just the energy sector.”
According to a recent study by N.C. State’s Dr. Michael Walden, there are many benefits of on-shore energy development in North Carolina, including:
Close to 500 jobs created from infrastructure development (over a seven-year build-up of facilities).
$80 million in new annual income created in North Carolina (over a seven-year build-up of facilities).
Close to 1,500 jobs created from production activities (over a 20-year recovery period).
Over $150 million in new annual income in North Carolina (over a 20-year recovery period).
“The expansion of our energy sector will not come at a cost to our precious environment. This legislation has the safeguards to protect the high quality of life we cherish,” continued Governor McCrory.
A 2013 Harris Interactive poll showed that 79 percent of North Carolina voters favor increased production of domestic sources of oil and natural gas. The same poll showed a majority of North Carolinians support hydraulic fracturing.
Gov. Pat McCrory Ushers in Fracking
Fulfilling a foregone conclusion, Gov. Pat McCrory lifted the state’s fracking moratorium today, signing into law a contentious bill that will permit the controversial form of drilling as soon as May of 2015.
“There are more than 1,000 documented cases of contaminated water from fracking across the country,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina. “By rushing to frack, Gov. McCrory and legislative leaders are putting North Carolina’s rivers and the drinking water for millions in jeopardy.”
The new law allows still-incomplete fracking rules to become effective by default early next spring, and removes a provision that would require another “affirmative vote” of lawmakers before permits could be issued, breaking a promise made two years ago by the General Assembly.
A state commission dominated by oil and gas interests has drafted but not yet completed 120 rules to regulate drilling. Among their inadequacies, the proposedregulations don’t address air pollution from fracking, and would allow toxic wastewater to be stored in pits, a waste disposal method that’s proved hazardous for coal ash.
“There are no rules in place now to reduce fracking’s harm to our environment,” said Ouzts. “Rushing our state into dirty drilling is bad enough. Doing so without guarantee that fracking’s risks will be mitigated is even worse. ”
By most accounts, North Carolina’s greatest potential in the energy sector is in renewable wind and solar, not finite oil and gas. Wind turbines spinning off the state’s coast could meet all of the state’s energy needs. North Carolina’s solar energy industry is growing rapidly, but has barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.
“The biggest disappointment here is that politicians are rushing our state into dirty drilling for little gain, and great risk to our water, when they could be boosting limitless, non-polluting energy sources like wind and solar,” said Ouzts.
“The out-of-state oil and gas interests benefit the most when North Carolina is opened to fracking,” she concluded. “Why cater to them at the expense of our environment, instead of boosting our state’s homegrown, clean energy sources?”
North Carolina Can Now Enter 21st Century of Energy Development
Americans for Prosperity – North Carolina today applauded Governor McCrory for signing Senate Bill 786, the Energy Modernization Act, into law. This legislation ends the state moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
“The bill will move North Carolina into the 21st century of energy development by finally opening our state to natural gas extraction,” explained John Dudley, the NC State Director of Americans for Prosperity. “Ending the moratorium on fracking will allow entrepreneurs to tap into the natural gas resources currently sitting dormant and use it to create jobs and low-cost, efficient energy. We urge the Oil and Gas Commission to quickly write reasonable rules for safe, environmentally friendly natural gas drilling and extraction.”
The Energy Modernization Act creates the State Oil and Gas Commission. It instructs the Commission to create rules for the development of North Carolina’s oil and gas resources. The law also requires the Commission to make an annual report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy and the Environmental Review Commission.
Economist Mike Walden of N.C. State University found that natural gas well and drilling operations would create about $80 million in economic activity and sustain, on average, nearly 500 jobs a year