Stokes Co. residents concerned over fracking legislation

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- A bill allowing permits for fracking in North Carolina passed in the Senate and House this week. Now, Gov. Pat McCrory's signature is all that is needed to make it law.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves breaking through shale rock to free trapped natural gas.
Permits could be issued by May 2015 if the bill becomes law.

Myron Mitchell, a Walnut Cove resident, says his land on Watts Road could potentially be ground zero for hydraulic fracking. Mitchell worries how it's done could lead to water and air contamination issues for years to come.

"I just never thought that I would have to deal with an issue like this on land that I bought, paid for and wanted to pass to my kids," said Mitchell. His grandfather originally owned and cleared his 85 acres of land.

State lawmakers who pushed the bill through argue gas exploration would create jobs and make the United States more energy independent.

But others wonder, at what cost?

"Most of the people making the laws, if not all, will never be affected. Their farm won't be destroyed. Their home won't be destroyed," said Mitchell.

Geologists say several North Carolina counties could have reserves of shale gas including Chatham, Lee and Moore counties.

"There's some smaller basins, the Dan River Basin in the north part of the state hits Stokes and Rockingham County," said Cassie Gavin, with the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization.

Gavin says legislators have still not addressed whether land owners can be forced into leases with oil and gas companies. However, some residents say they already feel helpless.

"One issue is if they do the fracking procedure, inject the chemicals, they may not get any gas at all. But the damage is done. It's done for multiple generations and we can't fix it," said Mitchell.

Gavin says the Mining and Energy Commission are still developing rules for the oil and gas industries in North Carolina. There will be an opportunity for public comment on the rules this summer.


  • WhoCares

    Is Stokes County full of environmental freaks? What a bunch of liberal-a** wusses you are! Who cares about your land when the best interests of the state are concerned? We’re talking about progress: job creation and making North Carolina economically strong again. If you are not willing to lead, step to the side. Forget that the NC legislature is working to prevent you from even contesting this issue. But hey…we voted them in because they know what our best interests are.

    • ICARE

      Well I guess you must not live in one of the affected counties. I do and I am concerned about the chemicals used. almost everyone in Stokes county gets their drinking water from wells. But hey I guess in your mind its all right if we get sick and DIE, or are forced off land that our families have owned for generations without being paid what our property is worth. All because of GREED! But hey if you want fracking you could move to where it is already being done and lose the value of your property, for the coffers in state of North Carolina There other new projects coming to NC without destroying our land.

  • I Care

    Weell, it’s a deep subject, Jack…,
    Take your pick.
    40,000 gallons of Toxic Chemicals per Well.
    From 1 to 8 Million Gallons of Water is Needed, per Well, to Fracture bedrock.
    50 to 70% of the Chemicals are left in the Ground, at Each Well.
    Around 600 Chemicals are used in Fracking.
    Many of which are known to be Carcinogenic and Toxic.
    The Chemicals Will, Get Into Local Water Wells and Systems.
    (A Known Fact).
    The Chemicals Used, can cause, Sensory, Respiratory and Neurological Problems.
    Not to mention Birth Defects.
    (That’s just common sense, Hospitals, Pharmaceuticals, and Insurance Companies will Love It.).
    The Democrats led North Carolina for 100 years,
    And they never even came close to doing anything like this to the Citizens of North Carolina.
    Being a Life-Long Conservative,
    I just made up my mind to vote Libertarian, From Now On…

    and this is a PSA from, “I Care”.
    (only one member at the moment, but you never know)…
    Please, FOX 8, read the links, before deleting this.
    Pretty Please…?

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