F*@# Fracking and Save $100,000

The heated debate about whether hydraulic drilling for natural gas in shale formations (called fracking) should be allowed in North Carolina has mostly focused on technical issues. Will chemicals used in drilling for natural gas contaminate water supplies? What about air pollution emitted during fracking? Shouldn’t we study this issue before making a decision to overturn the state’s ban on this type of drilling?

These questions miss the point – to allow more extraction of fossil fuels will increase global warming pollution and slow the uptake in renewable energy – wasting precious time to address climate change.

The whole dust up around fracking comes down to this – according to a recent study by the US Department of Energy (DOE), shale formations have the potential to increase the recoverable gas reserves of the world by 40% – and that’s a game changer, says the DOE.

Over the past five years, natural gas availability has increased by 20% in the US. In the past, shale formations were considered impenetrable, but hydraulic drilling has changed that. Like North Carolina, several states are considering measures to address the increase demand for fracking. Michigan, Arkansas, Wyoming and Texas are adopting new rules and New York State has a ban in place while it considers the impact on water and air from fracking.

The film Gasland has also kicked up some dust, showing how the Congress-mandated loopholes in the Clean Water Act have contributed to contamination of drinking water from Wyoming to Pennsylvania from fracking. The film’s website also has some handy facts about the enormous amount of water and chemicals used in the drilling process.

There is a bill pending in the NC House, HB242, which proposes to spend $100,000 to study the effects of natural gas drilling – much of which is located in Lee County.

Let’s save the $100 grand and say F*@# fracking. Natural gas will come to NC from other states, even if we maintain the ban on fracking. While many experts consider gas a bridge from coal to clean energy, some state some where needs to stand up and send a clear message that efficiency and clean, renewable energy is the priority.  With that decision comes new job opportunities, healthier residents and the rejection of natural gas fracking. That would kick up some real dust across the country –

Headline: North Carolina rejects fossil fuel extraction and leads the way in efficiency and clean, renewable energy.




  1. JeffS

    June 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I agree. Unless you are one of the land owners getting paid for drilling rights, why would you possibly want to risk the health of the environment for the profit of the gas companies?

    We’re selfish about most everything else… why not this? Let other communities pollute their water supplies for your gas. Reap the benefits of their declining health.

  2. Steve Harrison

    June 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Just a heads-up: We’re having a discussion and screening parts of Gasland in Greensboro on June 23:


    “The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Elon University School of Law in downtown Greensboro. The meeting will take place in Room 207. The school is at the intersection of Friendly Avenue and Greene Street, located at 201 North Greene Street.”

    Check it out, people.

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  4. mitch

    June 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    OOOweee the greenies hate natural gas. The ability to bring shale gas on board and run our country for another 100 years with a relatively clean burning fuel makes the enviro nuts jump out of their skin. Fracking is safe and can be made safer. Let it be a bridge to new technology give up your fanatsies of fairy dust wind turbines (that actually scar the landscape worse , kill endangered birds, kill Chinese worker who make the wind turbine components, and cant be made cost effective without subsidy).

  5. Randy Dye

    June 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I spoke on this issue with environmental groups at our meeting and recorded it on You Tube


  6. JNealNC

    June 12, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Update on bills in both the NC House (HB242) and Senate Bill (SB709). BOTH of these bills have been passed. The House bill is more of a study-and-then act slow-as-you go bill; the Senate is more of a fast-track oil and gas exploration bill.

    There were a total of two House members voted No on the adoption of HB242: Rep. Susan Fisher (D) and Rep. Roger West (R).

    There were a total of 12 Senate members voting No on SB709: Sens. Doug Berger (D), Dan Blue (D), Charlie Dannelly (D), Malcolm Graham (D), Ed Jones (D); Ellie Kinnaird (D), Eric Mansfield (D), Martin Nesbitt (D), William Purcell (D), Gladys Robinson (D), Don Vaughan (D) and Stan White (D).

    Of the 31 Republicans in the Senate, none voted against SB709; of the 19 Democrats, 12 Democrats voted against SB709.

    Of the 68 members who caucus with the Republican majority in the House, 1.5% voted against HB242 whereas 3.1% of the 32 members of the Democratic caucus.

    Of the 31 members of the Republican caucus in the Senate, 0% voted against SB709 whereas 63.1% of the members of the Democratic caucus. The list of House and Senate Democrats who voted against the respective House and Senate bills is distinguished more so by those who supported the legislation. Take a careful look at who’s missing.

    I wonder what sort of lobbying activity in opposition to these bills was undertaken by environmental groups in the State? I’m unaware of the same sort of vigor that has been mounted by other groups but perhaps I’m out of the loop? Problem with these bills is although they support further study…the genie is out of the bottle. Barring divine intervention, we’ll see fracking in North Carolina within the next two years.The Senate bill was deceptively entitled “The Energy Jobs Act.”

    I sounded an alarm almost a year ago with a blog post (wish I knew how to hyperlink hereon folks)- but take a gander at http://tinyurl.com/33bstt5

    jim neal

  7. Lisa

    June 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for the legislative update. Below is a brief assessment of the true greenhouse gas emissions from fracking that shows natural gas isn’t as clean as it is being touted to be.


  8. Andrew

    June 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Your comment about clean energy making jobs is a little misleading. Fracking will also create jobs too, and they will be permanent, situated inside the state. These “green” energy jobs are almost always outside contractors (many of them from overseas) who only hire temporary work until construction is completed, then they leave with our money.

    You want to talk more about energy jobs? Where are green energy machines and parts made? Europe and China. Doesnt seem very American to me.

    Furthermore, the gas filed that everyone is so upset about could run the WHOLE STATE for 40 years, reducing our oil imports and drastically dropping the price of energy for the citizens of North Carolina. I fail to see how that is a bad thing, either for the property owners who make money off of the land leases, or for poor persons who get to pay less to light and heat their homes.

  9. Lisa

    June 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Andrew: here’s the latest on health concerns with fracking of natural gas: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/jan-june11/fracking_06-15.html

    Regarding jobs, clean energy jobs are exactly that, clean – and in a clean energy economy, permanent jobs would be created in our country and our state – not only building solar and wind parts and infrastructure but also retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient. And efficiency saves everyone money on their utility bills.

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