Here’s a must-read post that our good friend, former U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal, posted this week on his blog, Neal’s Way:

By Jim Neal

In July of last year I posted Gasland- in my backyard on this blog. I fired a missile across the bow of those who treasure the world’s most precious resource: water. Water is a resource under assault and increasingly the source of regional conflict and inter-community squabbling. In North Carolina, the vast Falls Lake Reservoir which provides drinking water to two of our largest urban areas- Wake and Durham counties- is polluted. That’s right, the source of drinking water to hundreds of thousands residents does not meet the minimum requirements of the Clean Water Act. Cleaning up the mess will cost ~$1.5 billion.

Given North Carolina’s  was concerned grave at the prospect of  Big Oil & Gas interests using their political and financial power to upend North Carolina’s ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a toxic but profitable technology used by natural gas companies to extract natural gas from shale deposits. Here’s a telling excerpt from last year’s post:

“Though fracking is currently illegal in NC, speculators are betting that will change. My concern is that politicians in Raleigh- consistent with our Legislature’s bipartisan refrain for economic growth and the GOP’s aversion to regulation- will fall in line with Big Oil. Experience has shown that any sort of perceived economic growth prospect for NC- like keeping cigarette taxes absurdly low at the expense of responsible public health and fiscal policy- prevails over concerns about irresponsible public health and fiscal policy. It’s the old growth at any cost argument.

I’m curious just how toothy the NC statute banning fracking really is. I don’t want to awake and discover that some lobbyist for the Oil & Gas industry is drafting its own Halliburton loophole.

Best get fired up before it’s too late to turn the spigot on.”

Yesterday my concerns became reality. The North Carolina State Senate passed a bill entitled The Energy Jobs Act (SB 709) on a bipartisan basis. (Anytime a piece of legislation has a name that reads like The Energy Jobs Act or, say, a Compassion for Kittens Act hold your breath.) For interested North Carolinians: check which State Senators did the bidding for the oil & gas industry.



  1. Steve Harrison

    May 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Jim has definitely been out front on this issue. I think it was back in early 2009 when he mentioned fracking to me in a conversation. Whenever it was, it was long before the subject began to surface in media reports.

  2. Alex

    May 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

    There is inherent danger with any type of energy production. The greatest danger though is running out of energy completely. As long as we allow 100 lb.women to run around in 7000 lb. SUV’s , we will always have a problem.

  3. Steve Harrison

    May 13, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Take my word for it, Alex: In the coming decades, access to fresh, potable water is going to eclipse our energy problems. And when it does, we’ll look back at the billions of gallons of clean water we permanently contamined for fracking purposes with anger and regret.

  4. gregflynn

    May 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Two thing we can’t survive without are air and water. Mess with those and you mess with life.

  5. george

    May 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    how many good/bad things have happened to the enviroment when there was no regulations and/or industry’s refusal to release information re. chemicals used?

  6. bubba

    June 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    A point of clarification on Falls Lake;
    Falls Lake provides raw water to the City of Raleigh. They process and distribute that water to 8 surrounding municipalities in Wake County. Falls Lake does not provide water to Durham.

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