NC House Gives Initial Approval To Gas Fracking

By  | 

North Carolina lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a measure that would allow fracking for natural gas to begin in the state next year.

The Republican-controlled state House voted 63-52 to approve the bill Wednesday, with a dozen members of the GOP caucus and all but one Democrat voting no.

The House will hold another vote Thursday before sending the bill back to the Senate, which approved an earlier version of the bill last week. If the Senate agrees with the House changes, the bill heads to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who has said he will sign it into law.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is used by the energy industry to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Previous Story
The state Senate wants North Carolina to begin issuing the first permits to explore underground for natural gas using a process called fracking as soon as next summer.

The chamber gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that refines further the path for the state to attract energy exploration companies interested in potential gas deposits.

The bill would remove the 2012 moratorium blocking permits until a state regulatory commission created the rules. Those rules are entering their final development stages. The legislation says permits could be issued starting July 2015.

Senators supporting the legislation argued it's time for the state to finally reap the benefits of jobs and revenues from fracking with state-of-the-art regulations. Opponents say more time is needed to ensure drinking water and communities are protected.

Previous Story

The effort to get the exploration of natural gas in North Carolina using a process called fracking started next year is moving ahead at the legislature.

The Senate scheduled debate Wednesday on how rules being developed by a commission to regulate hydraulic fracturing will be handled by the General Assembly once they're finalized by year's end. The bill says the first permits could be issued starting in July 2015.

The measure also lays out rates for state taxes on natural gas, oil and other energy sources that are unearthed.

The legislature directed the commission in 2012 to develop the rules. Republicans backing the new bill that cleared Senate committees Tuesday say it's time get the industry working in North Carolina. Critics say bill promoters are moving too quickly.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)