“Frack-Free NC” is a network of grassroots organizations who believe that shale gas development using “fracking” and horizontal drilling cannot be done without bringing harm to our waters, land, air, communities and public health. We are working to keep North Carolina frack free. Learn more...
On Monday, December 7th the Lee County Board of Commissioners passed a 2 year moratorium against fracking at a vote of 5-1. Lee County has been the center of the NC fracking controversy since the inception of the rush to frack in our state. This decision has sent a clear message that even those counties thought to have the most gas resources and previously dominated by bullying pro-fracking officials can wake up and see the need to protect their health and environment!
Locations of Rockingham and Lee Counties, the latest two local governments moving to protect themselves from fracking.
Hearty congratulations to the very committed folks in Rockingham and Lee Counties who’ve been working for years to get protections in place! On Nov. 16, Rockingham County voted for a two year moratorium on permitting and Lee County held the first of two hearings on the proposal there, passing the moratorium’s first reading! This means that four of the counties that are considered at the heart of potential gas extraction areas in the Dan River Basin (Stokes, Rockingham) and Deep River Basin (Chatham, Lee) have now taken action despite aggressive legislative attempts to intimidate local officials.
We’re very proud of the persistent and devoted efforts of the local activists to educate their officials, elect Commissioners who share their concerns, and build support for local moratoria and potential ordinances, as well as the officials who joined them in taking leadership. These counties join the cities of Creedmoor and Bakersville, as well as Anson County in taking strong protective action (click here for the full list of local government actions on fracking in NC). These protections go beyond local borders to set a powerful example to local governments all across the state. We know of other local governments preparing to act as well! If you have questions about working for a local moratorium or ordinance in your county or city, please contact email@example.com and we’ll get in touch to help you start the process with your local allies!
Below, you can see the wonderful brief statements of Marsha Ligon of EnvironmentaLEE and then the Chair of the Lee County Commissioners, Amy Dalrymple, during the October 5 meeting when the commission was discussing a proposed moratorium on fracking, shortly after the state legislature passed a bill in the last hours of session attempting to further limit local government control over fracking.
What a feisty example of resistance they are to all of us!
Thanks very much to Terica Luxton, Keely Wood, and Therese Vick for helping to make these clips available online.
On September 23rd, in the NC Legislative Building, Rep. Charles Graham of Robeson County hosted a press event for the Alliance of Carolinians Together (ACT) Against Coal Ash. The coalition includes many residents from around the state who are impacted by and deeply concerned about disposal practices at Duke Energy’s 32 coal ash sites in NC. Nick Wood, Lead Organizer at NC WARN, stated “we are statewide, unified and here to stay.”
Duke Energy has been burning coal for generations, but until very recently, residents living near these plants had no idea there were millions and millions of tons of toxic coal ash near their homes. Bobby Jones, a retiree from the Department of Health and Human Services, spoke about how community members near the H F Lee site near Goldsboro have been stricken with diseases, including cancer, that they believe have been caused by the coal ash. Tracey Edwards, a resident of Stokes County, spoke about cancer clusters in her community, respiratory diseases, and the fight her mother had with neurological problems until she passed away from cancer.
ACT Against Coal Ash is planning future actions and strategy meetings. To get involved, please visit https://www.facebook.com/ncstatewidecoalashgathering.
EPA NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT ITS FRACKING AND DRINKING WATER STUDY! Comments due Friday, August 28th.
In June, EPA released its nearly 1,000 page study of hydraulic fracturing impacts on drinking water. Many of you have probably seen media reports on the study’s major conclusion: “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” In fact, reading any chapter of the study, you can see that this carefully structured statement is actually misleading the public. FrackFree NC’s review team found that there is far too little known by EPA and scientists to say that there aren’t “widespread, systemic impacts.”
If you want to comment on the EPA Assessment but don’t want to read through 1,000 pages, we’ve got a solution for you! A team of FrackFreeNC’s more technical folks have read though chapters in detail and written short, plain English comments that you can put in your own words and use to submit your own comments. Please submit your comments, “pasted in” and as an attachment, to the following email address: Docket_OEI@epa.govIMPORTANT: include Docket number EPA-HQ-OA-2015-0245 in your subject line.
I just returned from a trip to Doddrige County, West Virginia where I was able to see firsthand what fracking (hydraulic fracturing) is like. My first impression was ‘Oh my god, please don’t let this happen to NC’. I immediately noted how overwhelmingly invasive the whole operation is. It was like kudzu that once it takes hold it covers everything.
Like NC, West Virginia is beautiful, lush, and green with an abundance of wildlife and picturesque mountain streams. But it has been raped by the oil/gas industry leaving ugly scares and open festering wounds across its landscape.
I’ve been following fracking issues for a while and knew there would be a lot of fracking activity in WV, but not to the extent that we saw. I expected to see many pipelines, for instance. But it seemed there was a pipeline right-a-way just about every mile. They were cleared 50 foot-wide right-a-ways forming a spider web across the county. Then there were the fracking well pads, compressor stations, pigging station (access points to clean the pipelines), extraction plants, holding ponds, and holding tanks just to name a few of the things that go along with fracking. And the size of each one of these structures was double or triple the size of what I thought they would be. There was no distance more than a city block that didn’t have something.
This area of WV has had conventional oil and gas drilling operations for years. Most of the people we talked to had wells on their property and received free gas as a result. Most would agree that’s not a bad thing. But there is a BIG, and I mean BIG, difference between conventional gas drilling and fracking. Visually, the difference in size of the two operations is immense. Most conventional wells, that we saw, were a few pipes coming out of the ground with a small tank a few feet away. This covered an area no more than 20 by 30 feet. The fracking well pads on the other hand took up multiple acres and had huge access roads leading to them. Of course the difference in damage to the environment and communities are enough to fill a book.
Then if the above isn’t bad enough, we had to constantly stop our car to allow trucks to pass. Like Stokes County, their roads were not designed for the volume and size of the truck traffic needed to support fracking (over 1,000 heavy trucks per well per frack). As a result the roads have to be repaired about every month. Accidents were common.
The impact kept mounting. As we drove around we would get hit with a wave of obnoxious fumes. I can’t imagine living next to something constantly emitting toxic air. The noise from the well pads, compressor stations and extraction stations was like living next to an airport with jet engines running 24/7. There were many “man-camps” where out-of-area workers lived in campers for temporary housing.
Badly eroded steep mountainside cuts for pipelines, often from two or three drilling companies. Photo by Peggy Wert.
All of this was very depressing and disturbing, but most disturbing was the lack of regulations and no enforcement or inspections. The oil industry has free range to do as they please. Our hosts for the visit told us about everything from improperly marked trucks, to the lack of vents in the pipelines (needed to release pressure), to contaminated water wells, to well explosions with fatalities that resulted to no action from regulators. Unfortunately our current NC rules and regulations look like they will offer us no better protection.
My final observation was the impact to their economy and quality of life. Our legislators push the bills to allow fracking because it would bring jobs to NC. But based on what I saw, very few West Virginians reaped the benefits. Most of the jobs were held by outsiders. The drillers and other industry- specific companies bring their own crews and even jobs like truck drivers are mostly out-of-area hires. The main benefit to the economy was to restaurants and other service industries. Some local entrepreneurs would install facilities to lease their property for man-camps. The downside to the economy far outweighed the good. The industry takes over like slime mold killing the quality of life for locals. Roads and traffic were terrible. A normal ten minute trip could take 30 minutes due to the truck traffic. First responders were relegated to traffic control in an emergency because they are not trained or equipped to handle oil/gas situations. Our host told of one local that had her well contaminated but said nothing because she felt she couldn’t fight city hall or in this case the gas industry.
In all, my trip was very enlightening and depressing. If NC is fracked, it will change life as we know it.
Come out to celebrate, learn, and strategize! The fracking permit moratorium was lifted by NC Legislature, but lawsuits, lousy gas prices, and statewide resistance have turned the rush-to-frack to a fizzle. This event will have live music, workshops on citizen monitoring, a potluck lunch, an update on where fracking stands in NC, and time to socialize! Please RSVP!
Show up anytime after 10 AM. Program starts at 11 AM.
We will be at Shelter #1, near the Upper Cascades Falls. Park at the Upper Parking Lot. Here is a map of the park. Please note that we will be in the enlarged portion of this map.
Clean Water for NC, Working Films, Appalachian Voices, and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League are joining forces to bring you a feisty program of excellent short films, the latest fracking developments in NC and more on how we can keep building the resistance! “Fracking Stories” features clips that explore the public health and environmental consequences of fracking and the ways that communities are coming together to protect themselves. We hope you’ll join us for one of the upcoming events!
When we think of the vulnerable people who won’t be able to move away from the impacts of fracking on their health, environment and community, we often forget about the children! They are least likely to be informed about the potential effects of fracking, and don’t have the freedom or resources to choose another place to live. Babies and kids are even more vulnerable than adults to respiratory, neurological and hormone disrupting effects of chemicals used or released by drilling and fracking, as well as the stress of round the clock industrial noise or threats from transient worker camps.
Jenn Weaver, our Water and Energy Researcher, has produced a mini-report summarizing key results of some studies on fracking and kids for your use in outreach to neighbors and public officials. Sometimes talking about our kids will open hearts and minds in a way that science just can’t do.
1. Setback distances for oil and gas operations in many states allow them to be within a few hundred feet from schools and homes. Air emissions at playgrounds and in Texas and Colorado have been found to exceed safe levels of benzene, methylene chloride and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Potential acute health effects include respiratory, neurological symptoms, and long term effects include developmental delays and cancer.
2. Health professionals in Vernal, Utah noted that infant deaths rose to six times above normal in a span of just three years that coincided with the fracking boom.
3. A study of nearly 125,000 births in Colorado showed a consistent relationship between proximity to oil and gas operations within 10 miles and prevalence of congenital heart defects. The effect was stronger when the density of active oil or gas wells increased and the distance to wells decreased.
4. In areas of intense fracking operations, a significant increase in assaults and trafficking of girls has been documented. This often happens through abduction. An estimated 70% of girls in the sex trade were recruited at age 13 or 14.
For the full report, “Fracking Our Kids’ Future”, click here.
Help us kick off the Fracking Stories film tour and the opening reception of the Water Warriors Multimedia Exhibit, portraying an indigenous Canadian community as they take on the oil and gas industry. Wine & Hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Tuesday, May 19, 6:30-8:30PM – Water Warriors Public Reception & Fracking Stories Screening Chatham Mills, 480 Hillsboro St, Pittsboro
“Fracking Stories” features six short documentaries that explore the public health and environmental consequences of fracking and the ways that communities are coming together to protect themselves