North Carolina lawmakers are honing rules that would govern underground natural gas drilling and encourage offshore oil drilling.
The Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation intended to spur the state's energy. It now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory.
The measure removes an earlier idea to begin issuing permits in March 2015 for underground gas drilling using a method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The existing law directs state agencies to craft rules for oil and gas exploration by October 2014 and requires the legislature to act before issuing any permits.
The legislation also directs McCrory to negotiate an offshore energy alliance with the governors of South Carolina and Virginia.
Republican Rep. Mike Stone of Sanford says lawmakers want to tell the energy industry that North Carolina welcomes drilling.