Those of us in North Carolina who care about clean water, healthy communities and democratic process were outraged and deeply disappointed over the legislative outcome for the “fracking bill” SB 820. We applaud Governor Beverly Perdue for standing up for the people of NC when she vetoed Senate Bill 820. House Speaker Thom Tillis and the bill’s proponents used a voting error and vote “trading’ to enact a law that is harmful to North Carolina’s people, water and economy. The bill does not protect drinking water, landowner’s rights, county and municipal governments’ interests, and the health and safety of our families, and specifically overturns long-standing groundwater protections.
We applaud those legislators who voted to sustain the veto and to protect and defend, clean water, air and land, and healthy communities. They understand that a vibrant and healthy future for North Carolina depends on decisions based on facts and science, not ideology.
The proponents of the fracking bill, SB 820, falsely promoted it as a major jobs creator. Rather than promoting an energy policy that would have brought new jobs to North Carolina through energy efficiency/conservation, solar and wind, the legislature pursued the same old policies that put money in the hands of the fossil fuel industries. Shame on them for being so shortsighted about NC’s energy future.
Instead of bringing jobs, this legislation introduces a disturbing future. Both the new industry-dominated commission that is being appointed, and the lack of resources that DENR now has for crafting new regulations, spell trouble for North Carolina. Fracking in NC may also introduce pressure to allow deep waste injection wells (with undisclosed toxic chemicals) that could be placed anywhere and which threaten groundwater and seismic stability over an even larger area of the state.
Under this legislation, “forced pooling,” which removes the basic right of individual land owners to determine how their property will be used is retained from decades-old laws. With a startling paucity of landowner protections, trespass becomes legalized. Our communities and local governments are stripped of the right to protect local water, air, farmland, wildlife, and citizen health. With fracking, North Carolina now faces threats of possible earthquakes in the vicinity of Shearon Harris, water contamination, air pollution, devalued property, a range of environmental injustices impacting our most vulnerable populations, and industrialized landscapes. Our politicians pushed these risks in exchange for limited short term fracking jobs, and the temptation of industry money to fund campaigns.
The past few weeks of heat and drought should remind us all that we depend on water. As water supplies dwindle across the country, it makes no sense to intentionally contaminate millions of gallons of clean water every time each well is fracked. Instead of conserving and protecting our water, the legislation that was just rushed into law decreases our water supplies, and risks making it unusable for generations. We have only to look to Pennsylvania to see the terrible cost of fracking on surrounding communities and those living downwind and downstream. We cannot live without water.
The huge groundswell of public objections to fracking in NC will not go away. Thousands of people spoke against fracking at the DENR hearings in March, and turned out to rallies, meetings, and to lobby their legislators in Raleigh. Over 45,000 people contacted the Governor asking her to keep NC free of fracking – more than she’s received on any other issue in her term as Governor. Numerous towns and cities in the targeted fracking zone have passed resolutions against fracking and for local control.
These citizens will not give up this battle and go away, and neither will we. A diverse alliance of statewide organizations and grassroots groups who work for environmental justice, healthy food and farms and clean water, air, and energy, came together to keep NC frack free. We will be watchdogs on the rulemaking process, and continue to reach out to communities with the latest science and information about what other states are experiencing. We are determined to keep NC’s waters, land, and people safe from fracking’s injustices and destructive practices.
Anson County Water Air Land and Lives
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Cape Fear River Watch
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities
Clean Water for North Carolina
Cumnock Preservation Association
Food and Water Watch
French Broad Riverkeeper
Haw River Assembly
Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation
No Fracking in Stokes
Save our Sandhills
350.org North Carolina
Triangle Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom