Senate advances fracking bill as opponents are shut out of hearing
While it’s true that the North Carolina General Assembly is not really designed to accommodate large public audiences — at least in most committee rooms — there was something troubling and all-too-familiar about the way this morning’s Senate Commerce Committee meeting on a bill to legalize fracking went down.
Last week, when the bill came up, the committee room was so crowded that dozens of people — some with other business before the committee — were kept out. Yesterday, in an apparent bow to the crowds of fracking opponents expected today, the committee announced that it would move to Room 643 in the Legislative Office Building – the legislature’s largest committee room and a place from which an interent audio feed is available.
Unfortunately, the switch didn’t last. Apparently not anxious to ram through the bill with a couple of hundred opponents bearing first-hand witness (and in easy earshot of potentially hundreds more on-line), Senators switched the meeting back to the Committee’s usual small conference room at the last minute and then barrelled ahead. The photo above shows just a small part of the anti-fracking crowd of around 200 people that gathered outside and tried to follow the proceeding by peering through a large, soundproof window.
All in all, another typical day in Tillis/Bergerville.