Ask your Representatives to vote to OPPOSE S76, which would make the “rush to frack” even more dangerous for communities in several regions of NC:
- Last year’s Senate Bill 820, required one final vote of approval after seeing the regulations developed by the Mining and Energy Commission, BEFORE permitting could start. SB76 ignores this promise and would allow permitting to start in March of 2015, no matter how unprotective the regulations are!
- It would put the livelihood of NC fishermen and coastal tourism and health at risk by promoting offshore oil and gas drilling
- It would repeal the requirement for “landmen” to register in North Carolina, leaving property owners vulnerable, and limiting public access to records about companies operating in NC
- It would legalize deep injection of oil and gas wastes, increasing the chance of earthquakes, spills and contamination in areas far from where fracking would occur, probably coastal areas!
- It prevents local governments from assessing any taxes to pay for the increased costs of road maintenance, emergency and other public services when the industry moves in.
Note: S76 has been pulled from the May 22 agenda but we know it’s going to come up again soon! Legislators need to hear from you so please let them know why you’re opposed to this bill.
(AP): A new rule set for approval by the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission requiring some disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing has been withdrawn at the request of industry giant Halliburton.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Thursday that the state commission had been set to vote on the new rule Friday. The standard spells out which chemicals operators must publicly disclose when drilling natural gas wells.
But commissioners were surprised to learn the rule was pulled from their agenda at the last minute so that it could be reworked by staff at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The commission already had approved the standard in committee. Read more here!
Frack Free NC yard signs are here! Are you interested in finding out how you can get one of these signs (see below)? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
On March 19, over 120 concerned citizens, activists, and local elected officials came together to call on our legislators to take action and vote “No” on Senate Bill 76! One of the speakers, Cecilia Jimenez of Workers for Clean Water, delivered a powerful message in Spanish, urging us all to get involved in the movement against fracking. Below is her statement. For more information about Workers for Clean Water visit their Facebook community page.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk and allowing me inform my community. Workers for Clean Water, from Sanford, NC, came to be from the need to inform our community about hydraulic fracturing.
This is not easy work. This is not something we can describe in a nutshell. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, destroys states, towns, communities, families, ecosystems. Simply put, hydraulic fracturing is a mortal threat. This is because hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses millions of gallons of water to extract gas at the cost of polluting our rivers, lakes, and streams – everything that surrounds us. Nothing is free from the consequences of hydraulic fracturing.
One can live without driving for five days but no one can live those same five days without water.
This is a call for the Spanish-speaking community. Get involved! Participate to defend, to fight against hydraulic fracturing! Let’s fight, because if we do not then we will be exposed to the constant dangers of the process and in doing so we are also destroying the future of our children. Hydraulic fracturing directly affects us, the Latino community, because we are part of the minority and working class that depends on jobs from agriculture, factories , and small businesses. We must understand that getting health care is becoming unaffordable for the working class, for workers in the field, or simply for all people who earn the minimum wage. I want us all to defend the future of their children. As Emiliano Zapata said, “the earth is defined by those that till it.”
The following is for all who think that hydraulic fracturing cannot affect them. Hydraulic fracturing is happening right now in more than 32 states here in the US. In Mexico, drilling has began in Coahiola, Veracruz, and in other parts of the country. In South America, Argentina is one of the worst impacted countries. I do not mean to frighten us but I just want us to be aware that hydraulic fracturing is a huge threat and is no friend to us. Gas companies are propagandizing and filling our children’s minds with lies on Sesame Street. They are taking advantage of gender stereotypes and telling women that this industry will bring them wealth and that they will be treated like queens.
I urge us all to join the fight, join the marches, join the cause against hydraulic fracturing.
Thanks. Sanford says NO to fracking!”
Rally on March 19, 6 PM Across Legislative building, 16 West Jones St., Raleigh
Please join us tomorrow, March 19, as we rally at the legislature to urge our lawmakers to keep their promise not to fast-track approval for fracking while removing many critical protections that were in place to protect landowners’ rights and to keep groundwater safe from toxic industrial waste.
Last year, North Carolina lawmakers voted to make fracking legal under the condition that there would be a two-year moratorium before deciding whether or not to grant any drilling permits to the oil and gas industry. Senate bill (SB 76) is now threatening to break that promise by lifting the moratorium automatically, without giving the General Assembly a fair chance to consider the public health and environmental impacts of fracking before they vote on this important issue. SB 76 would also take away from North Carolina counties and towns the ability to collect taxes and fees from oil and gas companies for damage to infrastructure, and for the first time allow disposal of toxic oil and gas wastes underground.
Don’t forget to contact your Representative about your concerns with SB 76 (find contact info by county here). Lets call on our lawmakers to protect families, not corporate profits!
Workers for Clean Water ~ Pee Dee Water, Air, Land and Lives ~ No Fracking in Stokes ~ Haw River Assembly ~ Clean Water for North Carolina ~ Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
February 28, 2013
Groups Across NC Decry Senate Bill 76 as a Deepening Betrayal of Communities, Water, Air and Land
SB 76 Would “Pre-approve” Fracking Rules, Allow Waste Injection into Groundwater, Make Mining and Energy Commission Bias More Extreme
Groups from northwestern NC to the southern piedmont today condemned the passage of NC Senate Bill 76, the “Domestic Energy Jobs Act” as a measure designed to ensure that NC will grant permits for horizontal drilling and fracturing for gas and oil from shale formations, without the resources or protective rules in place to even reduce the impacts of fracking operations, much less prevent them.
“With early 2015 as a definite date for frack permitting to be allowed, with NO further legislative vote after regulations are drafted, our communities will be left in the path of an oncoming train with no brakes,” said Denise Lee of Pee Dee Water, Air, Land and Lives, based in Anson, Richmond and Montgomery Counties. ”The public is increasingly waking up to the extreme bias of the Mining and Energy Commission toward protecting industry’s interests rather than people’s health, water or air. This bill would strip the Commission of important, informed and conscientious members, worsening the anti-regulatory twist to all of the Commission’s actions. Senate Bill 76 is a rush to make frack permitting a ‘done deal’ before the public rage and fracking awareness have fully ripened.”
Mary Kerley knows what the heavy truck traffic and massive water withdrawals would mean in her rural, mountainous Stokes County community. “The drilling, pipelines and trucking could wreck our tourism based economy, threaten drinking water wells for the vast majority of our county’s residents, and cause deep rifts between neighbors with different views or fights over leasing contracts. We want no part of it, and our County Commissioners agreed in 2012, asking the state legislature not to allow fracking. We know that Chairman Womack of the Commission is doing all he can to reduce the rights of local communities to protect themselves, and to cement in place the ‘right to frack’ at all costs to the public.”
In a state with no regulations for water withdrawals, and no ability to control the timing, volume or location for sucking up millions of gallons of water for each gas well fracked, streams and rivers could lose enough volume to endanger aquatic life and downstream users. Elaine Chiosso, the Haw RiverKeeper, points out that the Upper Cape Fear River Basin includes the areas of Chatham, Lee and Moore County which have gotten the most attention for potential fracking operations for gas. “What will be the impact on water users in the Cape Fear Basin, including Jordan Lake, and downstream in the cities of Fayetteville and Wilmington? We know that most of the Commission responsible for regulations has NO experience in water or waste management, and Chairman Womack has already said he’s focused on developing infrastructure specifically to provide water for fracking operations. This is the astonishing climate in which regulations are being developed, regulations which the Senate has now said it will ‘pre-approve’ as ready to go! We are outraged by this flaunting of responsibility by both the Commission and the legislature, and are even more determined that gas development will not be allowed to destroy or deplete NC’s waters.”
“Allowing injection of hydraulic fracking fluids in last year’s Senate Bill 820 in a state where more than 50% of our residents depend on private or public wells for their drinking water was irresponsible,” says Grant Mincy of Clean Water for NC, “but Senate Bill 76 would expand that to allow injection of all oil and gas wastes, and that is extremely dangerous.” An environmental geologist working on energy issues with the statewide group, Mincy points out that it’s not only our state’s shallow, fractured shales that make fracking even more of a threat to drinking water here. “Reports from state geologists have told us that the kind of formations we used to think could contain deeply injected toxic wastes are quite rare in North Carolina. There is now growing evidence that contaminants are leaking out deep formations in other states, as well as causing earthquakes. Half the North Carolina population should be rising up in outrage at how fast this bill is moving, and the willingness of Senate leadership to deliberately allow pollution of our groundwater.”
A statement from Workers for Clean Water, based in Lee County, says, ”The rush to frack is not about jobs or economic development. We know that the best paying and safest jobs will go to out of state workers, and that only a few hundred, mostly temporary jobs will go to residents here. It’s really about economic development for legislators’ campaign chests, big contractors, and big landowners, not the people who really need the jobs in Lee or other counties threatened by fracking. Now that the US Geologic Survey tells us that we only have a tiny gas supply here, saying that the rush to frack is about jobs is even more cynical and opportunistic.”
“The Unelected Government known as the Oil and Gas Industry, has been invited in under the guise of economic development, to further influence our elected representatives at the expense of the health of North Carolina’s communities,” commented Therese Vick of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, on learning of today’s vote. Groups across the state are working to counter a rush to frack that is driven by politicians’ thirst for political donations from the oil and gas industry, which promotes anti-regulatory and anti-public interest legislation.
Senate Bill 76 was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on Feb. 21, and could get a vote by the Senate next week and head quickly to the House!
SB76 would set Mar. 1 of 2015 as the date when our moratorium on fracking permits would end. It would pave the way for offshore drilling while putting public health, water and air, and local economies at risk in NC!
Here’s where to get your Senator’s contact info, listed by county and your Representative’s info.Gov. McCrory, (919) 733-5811, though favoring drilling, must be told that rushing permitting will only result in accidents and contamination that his administration will take the blame for!
Key reasons to pull out all stops to fight this bill:
- Last year’s Senate Bill 820, which started the process of developing regulations for fracking, required one final vote of approval after seeing the regulations, BEFORE permitting could start. SB76 ignores this reasonable step and lets permitting start by default!
- It would put the livelihood of NC fishermen and coastal tourism at risk by promoting offshore oil and gas drilling
- It removes the requirement for “landmen” to register in North Carolina, leaving property owners vulnerable, and limiting public access to records about companies operating in NC
- It would legalize deep injection of oil and gas wastes, something that has never been allowed in NC, and had been kept OUT of S820 last year
Opposing Rate Hikes & Continued Reliance on Fossil Fuels
By Therese Vick, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL)
On Saturday January 26, 2012 activists from BREDL Chapter SAFE Carolinas, Clean Water for North Carolina, NC Sierra Club, the Western NC Alliance, and many others gathered in Asheville to protest Duke Energy’s planned rate hikes and their continued reliance on dirty energy including proposed increased use of shale gas. For more information on Duke Energy’s plans, click here.
Puppets Gillespie (left) and Rucho (right).
In order to emphasize that natural gas extraction is unnatural, Elizabeth and Daisy O’Nan from BREDL chapter Protect all Children’s Environment (PACE) joined the assemblage with their puppet heads of Assistant DENR Secretary Mitch Gillespie (formerly Rep. Gillespie), and Senator Bob “Drill-Baby-Drill” Rucho. These two have wrought much havoc on the environment and public health in North Carolina.
Many claims are made about natural gas being cleaner than coal. This is a false perception. Moreover, fracking is touted as the road to energy independence; when in actuality, it is not.
Forty-seven percent of all crude oil is used in the production of gasoline, and emissions from natural gas vehicles are problematic. Hydraulic fracturing comes with air, water and land pollution. Additionally, the large amounts of water needed to “frack” a well and the huge amount of waste generated add to this dirty industry’s carbon footprint. Many thousands of trucks will be required to transport water to and waste from a gas field.
Methane gas is freely released into the atmosphere from fracking and related infrastructure. Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2; recent research shows that shale gas extraction has a larger carbon footprint when compared with other fossil fuels such as oil and gas. In comparison to coal, greenhouse gas emissions from fracking operations are 20% higher, perhaps even greater when viewed from a twenty-year period. Continuing to wrap this technology in the flag and to stand it next to truly green technologies such as solar and wind power is deceptive.
There is nothing natural about natural gas.
On Jan 22, NC DENR staff hosted a very productive stakeholder meeting to focus on a draft rule on chemical disclosure for fracking and gas development chemicals that were under consideration by the Commission (MEC). In addition to three public interest groups (Rural Advancement Foundation, Intl., Clean Water for NC and Environmental Defense Fund), several state agencies, local governments and even industry were represented on the panel. They reached consensus on 17 recommendations to improve the draft rule, almost all to strengthen disclosure requirements to protect public health, agency oversight and emergency response. Then on Jan. 24, at the Environmental Standards Committee of the MEC, Dep. Secretary Mitch Gillespie personally intervened to expunge 6 of those recommendations from consideration by the MEC. Committee Chair George Howard weighed in, speaking contemptuously of the stakeholder group and its recommendations, saying they weren’t “landowners” or “experts,” and how could you be a stakeholder unless you were a landowner?
After the full Mining and Energy Commission met on Jan 25, the media coverage was fascinating.
George Howard, vice chairman of the MEC. Photo courtesy of Wilmington Star News.
From the Winston-Salem Journal , an excellent investigative piece
on Mining and Energy Commission Vice Chair George Howard’s business and his response to the stakeholders on chemical disclosure rule recommendations. Meanwhile, from the Raleigh News and Observer, a piece
that soft-peddled Howard’s comments, said several Commissioners “voiced frustration about emotional and uninformed comments” at the stakeholder session and credited the MEC as working on the “toughest fracking rules in the nation.” Murawski had not covered the stakeholder meetings or the Thursday MEC Committee meetings, and apparently took Howard’s word for it that the MEC was working on tough rules. (Interestingly, Commissioner Ray Covington singled out reporter John Murawski at the meeting for fawning compliments as a “truthteller.”)
The facts? It wasn’t several commissioners, it was Howard who ripped the stakeholder group in his comments at the MEC, saying it is a “shadow commission,” that their discussion was “brainstorming” and “uninformed” and that they weren’t even qualified to be stakeholders! Several Commissioners were concerned about rushed rulemaking and wanted more time to discuss the issues that the stakeholders had raised. And any statement that the MEC is working on “strong rules” on fracking is premature if not downright propagandistic, given that MEC leadership is manifestly hostile to strong regulations. Howard said that the Commission should have its own press secretary for more media control, but with Murawski’s chummy reporting, why would the MEC even NEED a press secretary?
We know that most folks in NC value their drinking water, communities and air, and don’t support the rush to frack-it will be our job to mobilize them
in the coming year!
On Monday, July 2nd, a late-night override of Governor Perdue’s veto of the fracking bill (S820) was heartbreaking, but an indicator of how much we have all done together. The grassroots support for sustaining a veto was so strong that fracking supporters had to resort to buying off legislators to win. We are still strong, and if anything can be said about this grassroots movement, it’s that we won’t give up!
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.