House Passes Fracking Bill
On June 14, the North Carolina House and Senate passed a bill to legalize fracking, regardless of whether regulations are approved. The bill now goes to the Governor for signing or veto. Help us get this bad bill vetoed.
Senate Bill 820 (the fast-track fracking bill) legalizes fracking in North Carolina and gives the state environmental regulators an impossibly short period of time to develop regulations to protect public health and the environment. The bill authorizes fracking operations to proceed with drilling without regulatory oversight even if the regulations, which are likely to be challenged in court by industry, are not approved in time. Furthermore, the bill takes away a property owner's right to prevent fracking under their property and it takes away the power of local governments to address local fracking problems.
During the floor debate, legislators were given a letter from Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of a small Texas town which is in a major fracking zone. He wrote:
"We’ve watched as fracking has turned our small rural town into an ugly industrial zone. We’ve also felt health impacts first hand as we have been overwhelmed at times with strong chemical odors. We’ve watched our roads be in a constant state of congestion and in need of repair due to the stress of relentless heavy truck traffic. This is the reality of life in a fracking state."
The legislation would roll back a decades-old ban on flushing chemicals underground and drilling horizontally, the two components of natural gas extraction from hard-to-reach formations. We shouldn’t rush into legalizing this controversial practice when so many questions remain regarding its safety, its practicality, and the potential impacts to our communities. Of particular concern is the Republican plan to create a new state commission to oversee fracking which will itself be dominated by fracking industry representatives.
Two Republicans and the conservative Democrats who had voted to override several of the Governor’s vetoes last year voted to oppose the rush to frack! Please be sure to thank these Representatives: Holloway, McGrady, Crawford, Floyd, Owens and Spear!
Representatives Kelly Alexander and Rodney Moore were the only two Democrats who voted FOR S820, possibly putting in jeopardy the ability of Governor Perdue to veto the measure. Alexander and Moore’s votes for fracking were a complete turnaround from their consistent votes against last year’s pro-fracking bill, Senate Bill 709.
The bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk and we need your help in making sure she puts the veto stamp on this fracking bill!
If Perdue vetoes the bill, 72 votes would be needed to override the veto. Republican Rep. Mitch Gillespie of Burke and McDowell counties, who led the pro-fracking effort, said the state’s prospects for fracking now rest on a razor-thin margin.
It will “be extremely close on an override,” Gillespie said. “It’ll come down to one person.”
Gillespie also said, “I know of no common-sense person who is opposed to this.” Please let Rep. Gillespie know that the people with common sense are opposing the bill.
Most importantly, please let Governor Perdue know that you want her to veto Senate Bill 820 and oppose this irresponsible rush to bring fracking to North Carolina! http://action.ncconservationnetwork.org/VetoS820
Call Perdue’s office and urge her to veto Senate bill S820. The governor’s numbers are (800) 662-7952, or (919) 733-2391. Every call and email makes a difference.
In addition, particularly if you are a resident of Mecklenburg County, please call Representatives Alexander and Moore and tell them both that Mecklenburg County voters are opposed to fracking and are very unhappy that they voted for this irresponsible bill. Most importantly, urge them to change their votes if the Governor issues a veto of Senate Bill 820: