NC Lawmakers Lay Out Fracking Plans This Year

Republicans at the Legislature say they plan to take a cautious approach to allow a new method of natural gas drilling in North Carolina that, if successful, probably wouldn't remove a ban on the activity for at least two years.

Rep. Mitch Gillespie of Marion said at a news conference Wednesday he intends to file a bill when the General Assembly reconvenes in May that follows recommendations in a study released earlier this month by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The department's report said fracking can be performed safely in North Carolina if lawmakers adopt the right precautions. Gillespie said putting regulations in place and responding to concerns of local governments could take until 2014 or 2015 to complete.

Senate counterpart Bob Rucho largely agrees with Gillespie.

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