Fracking critics push stronger guidelines as candidates focus on energy independence (video)

The nation’s energy-production policy has been a central topic in this week’s presidential contest – with Mitt Romney vowing to “streamline regulations” to expand oil and gas exploration, and President Obama reiterating an “all-of-the-above” approach to developing new domestic energy sources.

This debate comes on the heels of North Carolina lawmakers passing legislation this summer to legalize hydraulic fracking and reshape the state’s energy landscape.

Sam Pearsall, a senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, joins us this weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon to discuss the promise and perils of fracking.

He says before the shale gas industry is allowed to drill here, there must be safeguards in place for the public’s health and the environment that include :

  • A comprehensive disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals
  • State and national standards for improving air quality, and reducing climate impacts
  • Minimization of land use and community impacts from natural gas development
  • Modernization of rules for well construction and operation

Pearsall also worries about the vast amounts of water needed for this type of drilling, and how that will impact North Carolina’s rivers.

The state Energy and Mining Commission will begin discussing guidelines for the new industry when it meets in September.

For a preview of our radio interview with the EDF’s Sam Pearsall, click below:


  1. Frank Burns

    August 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Everything looks good except for the part about reducing climate impacts. That is not necessary. The whole point is to extract natural gas by fracking which results in lower CO2 emissions due to natural gas being a “clean” energy.

  2. Jack

    August 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

    When it comes to the bottom line business has proven time and time again that it cares little about the health and well-being of the public. If not affected directly much of the public doesn’t care about the health and well-being of others. The NIMBY line of thinking is: “As long as the polluting chemicals affect them over there we can live with the resulting pain and suffering of their lives.”

    Short sighted visionaries are a dime a dozen and right now NC has more than its fair share.

  3. david esmay

    August 17, 2012 at 10:19 am


    Everything looks bad in this boondoggle, high risk to aquifer and environment, low returns, waste of time and money.

  4. Jeff S

    August 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I wish candidates would stop lying about energy independence. No reasonable person thinks it’s realistic and no one is working towards achieving it.

    On the Republican side, it’s just justification for removing a few more mountaintops, selling off a couple more national forests and stealing the nation’s mineral rights. The one and only goal is to keep supply costs as low as possible in the short-term.

    On the Dem side, it’s a half-assed attempt to placate the drill-baby-drill crowd. The best solution they can muster is the idea of energy savings through consumption, spurred by tax breaks. It’s both ineffective and a thinly veiled corporate handout.

  5. Dave Streifford

    August 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Responding to Frank Burns . . .
    Yes, NG has less CO2 emissions, but NG is FAR from the clean and green renewable energy sources. As usual the U.S. Congress has created a most biased tax and subsidy program that favors big oil and gas 1000:1 over wind, solar, geothermal, etc. Big oil hasn’t built a new refinery in nearly 50 years yet still receives massive subsidies.
    The big issues re fracking have far more to do with the location of the fracking activity. Unlike the Bakken field in Montana and the Dakotas, the Sanford sub basin is near large population centers. Moreover, there is significant risk to aquifers, ground water and private wells; risk to farm land, crops and our food chain; risk to the health of nearby residents, especially school children; risk of significant tremors if fracking is done near [less than 100 miles?] of a nuclear reactor and cooling pools holding spent radioactive spent fuel rods; amazing damage to roads and other infrastructure; and a shameful waste of water.
    The prospective sites in NC are in 3 counties – Chatham, Lee and Moore. Together, as estimated by the NC State geologist Kenneth Taylor, ALL of the NG in the entire oil shale sub basin amounts to a maximum of 5 years. As Pearsall says in the short video, when the drillers come they will come in force. That means they will take as much water as they can get from the Deep River, and that very likely will empty it. “Cheap” NG just isn’t worth it.

  6. Frank Burns

    August 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Responding to Dave Streifford,,,,
    The most important factor for me as a consumer is lowest cost of energy. Solar and wind will only serve as peak energy and will never provide the base load that coal and nuclear provide. Let’s celebrate coal and nuclear! Adequate flue gas treatment is in place to clean exhaust from coal. CO2 is not a pollutant, so I have no concern with that. I prefer to leave it to the professionals in the industry to decide if there are adequate supplies of natural gas. As long as they follow the rules there won’t be any problems, the gas is well below any aquifers so there is no risk to their pollution, fracking has an excellent track record.

  7. frances

    August 20, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I agree totally with Jeff- just sick of hearing the same old rhetoric for years as we continue to spend $30 billion a month on imported oil.Why can’t we develop a comprehensive national energy plan ?

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