New law makes it easier for state to get around fracking bans

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Some lawmakers are calling it a sneak attack. When they voted to approve Senate Bill 119, many thought it was simply about the budget. They later discovered a section on fracking had been added in at the end.

"It was placed on the dashboard for us to view on our iPads literally just minutes before we voted," Rep. Bryan Holloway said. "Maximum I had two minutes to look at a 40-page bill. It was not disclosed."

Holloway said he, and many of his colleagues, never would've voted for SB 119 had they realized fracking had been included.

But now, Holloway said the new law will make it easier for the state to get around fracking bans already enacted at the county level.

One such county with a moratorium, or temporary ban, on fracking is Stokes County.

"[SB 119] was a real slap in the face," said Ronda Jones, chair of the Stokes County Commissioners. "I can't tell you how disappointed I am. It's huge. We are not a county that I feel can handle fracking."

Rockingham County Manager Lance Metzler said Rockingham County had been discussing a moratorium on fracking and that many in the county oppose fracking.

"We've got environmental concerns, water concerns, potential waste disposal concerns, road condition concerns. Really after analyzing the whole process of fracking and what it can do to our community, we found really no positive impact to us," Metzler said.

Glenn Bozorth, who leads the group "Good Stewards of Rockingham," said he was disappointed to learn of the new law.

"There's only so much water and so much air," Bozorth said. "We can't just continue to mess it all up."