The NC Senate could give final approval as early as Thursday to a bill that would lift the state’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Members passed the Energy Modernization Act  Wednesday 33-13, despite appeals that more study was needed before allowing the state to begin issuing fracking permits in July of 2015.
Senator Buck Newton , a chief sponsor of the bill, criticized Democrats who repeatedly tried to amend the legislation:
“If five years isn’t long enough to figure out how to do it, when all the other states in the country
are figuring our how to do it, how long does it take? 100 years? 200 years? Never? Eternity?” questioned Newton.
Senator Gene McLaurin , an oil and gas company president representing Richmond County, acknowledged the energy bill had led to some soul-searching:
“I love this state too much to make what could be a hasty decision.”
McLaurin was among those voting against the bill Wednesday.
One more vote on Senate Bill 786 , and the measure is off to the NC House.
To hear a portion of the debate on the Senate floor, click below.