Fracking advocate will chair state Mining and Energy Commission

The NC Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) elected Lee County commissioner Jim Womack as its chairman Friday morning.

As Chris Fitzsimon noted earlier this week the commission’s charge was to determine if the state should proceed with the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

But Womack, who was appointed by Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, has already gone on record saying it’s in the best interest of the state to open the door to horizontal drilling.

In an interview with WRAL-TV, Womack set aside environmental concerns and said the next step is for the MEC to move quickly to set up a regulatory framework for energy companies:

“’Slow down’ is not in my lexicon,” he said. “You’re more likely to have a meteorite fall from the sky and hit you on the head than you are to contaminate groundwater with fracking fluid percolating up from under the ground. It hasn’t happened.”

Beaufort County’s Tex Gilmore, a representative from the mining industry, was also tapped Friday as chairman of the commission’s Mining Committee.

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