NC Senate OKs fracking bill; it could start as early as summer of 2015

fracking

RALEIGH, N.C. — Fracking may begin in North Carolina as early as next summer under a bill passed in a final vote by the N.C. Senate on Thursday. It could be considered by the House as early as next week, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

The bill, known as the Energy Modernization Act, was approved 36-11.

Critics say the bill breaks a promise state lawmakers made — to adopt a full slate of regulations on the new industry before lifting a moratorium on fracking. Supporters say that it is time to let North Carolina join other states in the pursuit of energy independence and jobs from the exploration of natural gas.

Two amendments approved on Thursday deal with concerns about disclosure of trade-secret chemicals used in fracking.

Under the changes, the unlawful disclosure of trade-secret information would be a misdemeanor – no longer a felony. Also, the state geologist, who would be assigned as the holder of trade secret information for public safety, would have to report within five days any chemicals that are on state or federal banned lists.