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North Carolina’s natural environment has been inundated with a lot of poison in recent days — so much, in fact, that a lot of folks may have forgotten the fact that state leaders are pushing hard to inject a lot more poison into the ground and water in the coming years. Happily, one of the state’s most celebrated native sons is speaking out against it in an ad on behalf of the good folks at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Click below to watch it.

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The Fayetteville Observer got it right over the weekend with this editorial:

“After all the ethical disasters the General Assembly has seen in the past few years, House Speaker Thom Tillis should have the definition of conflict on the tip of his tongue.

He doesn’t. In fact, he may be clueless.

How else could he have named Sanford businessman Ray Covington to the new Energy and Mining Commission? That’s the body that will come up with guidelines and safety regulations for natural-gas extraction in North Carolina by the hydraulic-fracturing method – fracking….”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

 

Even though everyone agress that the matter needs more study and that there is zero chance of it providing any near-term benefits, the Senate appears bent on barging ahead with a bill to expedite the legalization of fracking in North Carolina. The Senate Commerce Committee will take up the matter at an 11:00 am meeting this morning.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bob Rucho, claims that North Carolina’s extremely limited natural gas resources are ”God-given.”

Molly Diggins, Executive Director of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, however, sent out a measured but strong critique of the bill in antcipation of the meeting. Read More

The good people at Common Cause are out with a powerful new report this morning on the extent of the fracking industry’s skyrocketing political expenditures. This is from the report (“Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets in Congress”):

“From 2001 through June 2011, the fracking industry gave $20.5 million to current members of Congress and spend $276 million on lobbying.”

This is from a release from Common Cause of North Carolina that accompanied the release of the report: Read More

Cross-posted from the NC Conservation Network blog

Was anyone else bitterly disappointed this morning after reading the News & Observer's headline that "Democrats cry uncle on drilling?" From the article:

"Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts — including North Carolina's shoreline — to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4-a-gallon gasoline prices this summer."

Basically, now we have both parties of Congress supporting offshore drilling which, as laid out in our action alert, would do the following:

  • jeopardize NC's fishing industry;

  • threaten the rare coral wilderness off NC's coast; and

  • permanently change the face of coastal communities.

At the same time, offshore drilling would not lead to significant (or timely) oil production. [For a recent Op-Ed on this issue written by a state legislator, see http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=305388.]

From a recent poll conducted by Elon University:

"The poll also found that most people expect the drilling to affect gas prices in the near future. About 14 percent expected that permitting drilling would lower prices immediately or within one year. Another 53 percent expected gas price relief in one to 10 years.

The federal government disagrees. A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration last year found that new exploration in the Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf of Mexico would produce an extra 200,000 barrels of oil a day by 2030. But U.S. oil consumption is currently 100 times higher than that. Since oil prices are determined on a worldwide market, the new oil would not affect oil prices, the EIA said." [emphasis mine]

So why, oh WHY do more than two-thirds of North Carolinians support offshore drilling?