RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Gov. Beverly Perdue is trying to set standards for how North Carolina would permit shale gas exploration and production with an executive order directing a workgroup to make regulatory recommendations.
Perdue issued the order late Monday before the Legislature soon begins to debate its own proposed pathway to allow certain forms of shale gas exploration, including hydraulic fracturing -- also known as fracking.
The governor said the workgroup led by the state Division of Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should ensure precautions are in place to protect the state's drinking water and the health and safety of all citizens.
Environmental activists argue there's no fail-safe to protect groundwater from fracking and permitting shouldn't occur.
The Legislature could supersede the executive order with its own law.