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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.

 

 

7 Comments

  1. AdamL

    June 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    First the rabble want to wander around the second floor. Now they want to stand around in a committee room. The people are really impeding the good work of our public servants.

  2. Frank Burns

    June 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    If it’s the same bunch of professional protestors, or Advocacy Groups, that we see, I’d send them out to the hallway too! I really question the value of Advocacy Groups to the democratic process. They are pursuing their own vested interests (those who pay their dues and make the contributions).

  3. Rob Schofield

    June 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Frank, we know you’re located hundreds of miles away from Raleigh and really don’t have a clue as to what goes on in state government generally or the General Assembly in particular, but you really are embarrassing yourself with such inane and ill-informed comments.

  4. Frank Burns

    June 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Rob,
    Who is we? You and the other advocacy groups? Tell me what is ill informed about my opinion which is based on my own observations, not some non profit group.

  5. david esmay

    June 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Frank, apparently you have no problem with pro fracking lobbyists having unlimited access to legislators, writing laws for them and controlling the process at the expense of the general public.

  6. Frank Burns

    June 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

    David,
    I am not in favor of lobbyists of any kind. It’s everybody looking out for their own selfish interests that’s hurting the democratic process.

  7. Jeremy Giels

    June 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I was one of the 200 plus concerned citizens that attended this past Tuesday and was taken back on the way the public process excluded the democratic process and access of those that need to voice their concerns over this dangerous form of resouce extraction. It appears Senator Rucho has lead a campaign of deceit and misinformation to ram rod this bill through the legislation. The troubling thing it displays the power and influence of the fossil fuel lobby that has given close to 3/4 million dollars to the effort that we know about. Once the water is polluated and the damage is done, these companies will be gone and the people of North Carolina will foot the bill and bear the pain of this haste. Thank you, Mr Schofield, for the informative article on the way this was implemented.
    I hope concerned folks that care about the environment, citizen rights, and energy development call and voice their concerns to their elected officials. it is not too late!