The Fayetteville Observer takes a group of legislators and their staffers to task for their visit this week to Arkansas to purportedly continue their investigation of the impact of hydraulic fracturing.
The editorial board writes in Friday’s paper that this trip was just another worrisome indication that lawmakers are “fully committed to fracking, but not to strict safeguards” for North Carolina’s environment:
‘The group would like us to believe it’s really an objective fact-finding mission. But it looks more like a setup. The dozen impartial investigators are meeting with Arkansas regulators and with a Houston-based petroleum-exploration company that was sued by some Pennsylvania residents who said its fracking operations contaminated their water supply and made them sick.
That would be the same petroleum company that had a seat on the stakeholder group that made recommendations to this state for fracking regulations.
And what about the other side? Will our North Carolina fact-finders try to learn about problems fracking may have caused in Arkansas? Nope. State Sen. Bob Rucho of Charlotte told The News & Observer that the group is going to Arkansas to “learn how the system works.” Good choice, given that Arkansas has already had problems with fracking wastewater and may have spawned earthquakes by injecting it underground.
A Sierra Club spokeswoman got it about right when she said, “Arkansas doesn’t know what to do with its fracking wastewater, doesn’t respect landowners’ property rights and gives away taxpayer money to attract drillers. Should this be where North Carolina looks for best practices?”
But then, Rucho would see that as confirming what he already suspected: “We have enough environmental groups here.”
Not that he’s going to listen to them.
This trip follows the scenario of earlier legislative missions to fracking operations, which also emphasized listening to friendly regulators and the companies doing the gas exploration, and ignoring problems and the experts who can talk about them.
You can read the full editorial here.