RALEIGH: Fracking bill passes Senate, heads to McCrory - WSPA.com

Fracking bill passes Senate, heads to McCrory

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Oppenents rally against a bill that would lift a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Oppenents rally against a bill that would lift a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A bill to allow fracking in North Carolina passed the House on Thursday by a 64-50 vote after another day of heated debate on the issue.

Shortly after that the bill, Senate Bill 786, was passed by the Senate 33-12. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory, who consistently has supported allowing fracking in North Carolina.

Allowing hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as fracking - in North Carolina has been a priority of  McCrory,

“I’ve been pushing that since 2008," McCrory said earlier Thursday. "We have sat on the sidelines as a state for far too long on gas exploration and having N.C. create jobs and also help with our country’s energy independence. Instead we are pumping in natural gas from other states.

"So we are all using that natural gas but for whatever reason we are thinking if we do it here, it’s wrong but if we take it from someplace else it’s right. That’s very hypocritical.”

The heated debated continued Thursday before the vote. Rep. Grier Martin, a Democrat from Raleigh, opposed the bill, raising concerns about the fact that the chemicals in fracking are not public.

"When your trade secret enters my daughter's drinking water, it's my right to know," Martin said.

But the bill had enough Republicans in favor and the House approved the measure.

Opponents rallied against a bill to allow fracking next year, even as the North Carolina House prepares to vote on the idea.

About 50 people and a half dozen representatives criticized the Republican-backed bill Thursday that would allow fracking. Opponents said the bill moved through the legislature too fast, without enough public input. They said it will hurt the environment and could poison drinking water.

The House changes to the bill would give the Mining and Energy Commission final say over the decisions in the permitting process, with the power to pre-empt any local ordinances banning fracking.

STATEMENTS ON THE FRACKING BILL

"Today, Speaker Tillis and the House Republicans went back on their word and fast-tracked fracking in North Carolina. Fracking is now set to begin before there are even rules in place to ensure our drinking water is safe. Time and again, the Republicans are putting special interests ahead of average North Carolinians. Today's vote was irresponsible. It endangers our drinking water, our clean air, and jeopardizes the rights of property owners in North Carolina communities. I hope the Governor will insist on common sense safeguards before moving forward with fracking in North Carolina."

_ House Democratic leader Larry D. Hall


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