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Environmental Defense Fund: Fracking merits “cautious and conservative” approach (video)

High fuel prices and high unemployment have many politicians voicing support for fracking as a possible solution to both problems. But the Southeast director of the Environmental Defense Fund says a closer look at DENR’s draft report on fracking should make it clear the state does not have sufficient data to move forward with shale gas drilling.

The EDF’s Jane Preyer notes that projections from the state Commerce Department find such drilling activities will offer few jobs in the near-term, with many of those opportunities being offered to out-of-state companies with more expertise.

Preyer believes the public should also question whether the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing can be safely monitored by DENR, which has seen its budget slashed by 40% over the last few years.

Preyer joins us this weekend on News & Views to discuss fracking and why she believes current gas production practices impose unacceptable impacts on air, water, landscapes and communities.

For a preview of her radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below:

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13 Comments

  1. Mj Carbo

    April 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Cracking seems to be a very dangerous policy to follow. North Carolina faces so many environmental problems. We do NOT need this.

  2. Frank Burns

    April 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    There is no good reason to delay. The technology is there to do this safely and DENR agrees. We need to be progressive and move forward. The environmental groups are hoping for delay upon delay and hope that they can some day eliminate this technology and have us all living in caves with no energy.

  3. gregflynn

    April 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    If you read the actual DENR report, under “Conclusions and Recommendations” you will find at least 20 good reasons.

    After reviewing other studies and experiences in oil and gas-producing states, DENR believes that hydraulic fracturing can be done safely as long as the right protections are in place. It will be important to have those measures in place before issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina’s shale formations. A number of states have experienced problems associated with natural gas exploration and development because the appropriate measures were not in place from the beginning – forcing both the state and the industry to react after damage had already been done. DENR has identified a number of immediate recommendations for management of natural gas exploration and development activities. A complete oil and gas permitting program will require more detailed standards than it is possible to provide in this report and those standards should be based on conditions in North Carolina.

    Oh, and one more: the industry is too busy with cheaper, more accessible, and more abundant sources to be bothered with NC right now.

  4. Frank Burns

    April 12, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Exactly, DENR feels fracking can proceed once the precautions are put into place, which would be described in the permit. We should move forward and start approving this process now. It’s up to the market to decide when fracking begins, now that the environmental safeguard issue has been settled.

  5. david esmay

    April 12, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Frank, I suggest you rent “Gasland”, before you jump on that bandwagon.

  6. gregflynn

    April 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

    The safeguard issues have not been settled. DENR is saying we need safeguards. That’s like jumping blind from a plane without a parachute saying it’s safe so long as you have a functioning parachute that is opened on time and there’s a safe place to land.

    We don’t currently allow horizontal drilling and have no rules in place for it. Furthermore, the NCGA has put a stranglehold on the Rules process, so politics will trump science and safety.

  7. Jeff S

    April 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Sell it to me Frank.

    I am currently not a natural gas user. The people and companies who are, are not facing a lack of supply. Why should I be in favor of this?

    All the benefits belong to a handful of people – in the fraction of a percent range.
    All the risks belong to everyone else – 99.x%

    By all means, please tell me why I should favor it. Or give us an honest answer why you support it – free from the propaganda. Are you a landowner? investor in a drilling company? Perhaps a developer who has been quietly holding back mineral rights? Or maybe you’re just in favor of anything the environmentalists show concern about.

  8. Jack

    April 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    On July 8, 2011 This American Life aired “Game Changer”.

    A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, to discover that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences.

    It is worth a listen.

  9. david esmay

    April 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Coincidentally, Richard Burr has quite an interest in fracking, since he has invested in the companies that propose to do it. Richard has never been one to let environmental impacts, the will of the people, and principles, get in the way of greed.

  10. Frank Burns

    April 12, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Jeff,
    My interest is as a consumer. I have a keen interest in keeping my utility bills as low as possible. I see this as a great way for us to achieve energy independance on domestic fuels. It would provide jobs, additional revenue and low cost fuel. We need to take whatever precautions that DENR recommends and move on with the process. We don’t need negative environmentalists to try and slow this process down. Horizontal drilling is very promising as a technology and can be safely done.

    Jack, Professors are not reliable sources of information. What I’ve learned they will say anything to get those research grants.

  11. Ricky Leung

    April 13, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Frank, I do not trust your definition of what are reliable sources of information.

  12. Frank Burns

    April 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Ricky, do you only trust the tooth fairy, Peter Pan and everything that comes from George Soros?

  13. Ricky Leung

    April 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

    No, I trust legitimate, sourced research conducted by vetted professional academics over conservative editorials based on unfounded, unscientific talking points. And even to that end, my trust is not blind, so when there is another legitimate study or research with clear methodology that clearly and scientifically disproves the previous, and it is repeated and accepted by the general professional scientific community, then I will accept that as the prevailing, reliable source of information for informed opinions.

    But frankly, Frank, in all tongue-in-cheek-ness, the tooth fairy and Peter Pan have more credibility than you.