North Carolina Advances Possibility of Near Term Fracking

North Carolina’s current forecast for fracking is several years off.  However, several developments suggest that fracking may be a near-term possibility in that state.  For example, a recent bill entitled the Domestic Energy Jobs Act would advance the date for permitting to 2015.  According to Senator Berger, fracking in the state would bring in much needed revenue by taxing the gas industry while simultaneously creating thousands of much needed jobs.   Among the initiatives in the bill, it would:

  • Create an “Energy Jobs Council” whose responsibility would be to “develop a comprehensive energy plan with a focus on creating jobs.”
  • Prohibit localities from imposing non-property related taxes on the energy industry
  • Allow permanent disposal of wastewater underground as opposed to removing and treating it.
  • Study a single operating permit for shale gas drilling.
  • Send state tax royalties from offshore drilling to a state emergency fund for cleanup operations.
  • Increase taxes on natural gas industries.

The bill is headed for a vote in the Senate next week.   According to the US Geological Survey, North Carolina sits atop anywhere from 800 billion to 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Meanwhile, the Mining and Energy Commission is drafting proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing which would cover, among other things, enforceability of local anti-fracking ordinances.


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