Food & Water Watch has submitted brief comments on the draft North Carolina Oil and Gas Study under Session Law 2011-276.
The draft study finds that North Carolina is totally unprepared for drilling and fracking for natural gas, that opening up the state to fracking would effectively mean joining an uncontrolled public health experiment, and that fracking would negatively affect the state’s economy and residents.
But given misrepresentations of the study’s findings, you wouldn’t know all that unless you’ve read the study.
The lead conclusion – that “hydraulic fracturing can be done safely so long as the right protections are in place” – has been embraced by the oil and gas industry as a green light to open up the state to fracking. This is a problem. The conclusion doesn’t make sense tacked on to the end of a study that raises so many unanswered questions, which include:
- How the cumulative pollution impacts of drilling and fracking operations would affect public health in North Carolina;
- Whether the cumulative economic consequences of drilling and fracking in the state would be negative;
- Whether low- or fixed-income residents of North Carolina would bear a disproportionate burden of the negative economic consequences;
- How funding for resources to enforce the “right protections” would be secured in the current political climate;
- How local governments would pay for increased demands on social services in communities in the wake of drilling and fracking; and
- How contamination of potential North Carolina drinking water resources would be avoided.
It is nonsense to conclude that “the right” regulatory protections can be designed, enacted and enforced to ensure that fracking “can be done safely” when so many fundamental questions are left unanswered. Unfounded by the study’s findings, the lead conclusion is thus an inexplicable giveaway to the oil and gas industry.
Hundreds of North Carolinians attended the recent public hearings on the draft study to state their opposition to fracking in their communities. Public officials in North Carolina need to be reminded that, unlike the citizens that flooded the recent public hearings, the oil and gas industry has no stake in the long-term economic prosperity of these North Carolina communities.
If you are in North Carolina, or just like to go there in your mind, here are some actions you can take to help keep the brakes on fracking in North Carolina:
- Call your State Representative and tell them to oppose any bills that would allow fracking. You can call (919) 733-7928 and give the operator your house district number, the name of your state house member, or your zip code, and they will transfer you to the office of your representative.
- Call Governor Perdue and tell her you don’t want fracking in North Carolina. Call (202) 609-9041 and you will be connected to her office.
- Write a letter to your local newspaper, community newsletter or favorite blog.
- For more information contact Renée Maas at rmaas(at)fwwatch(dot)org