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.