Eleanor Kinnaird: Shrewd fracking deal

June 12, 2014 

When fracking took off in North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania, the Republican legislature got excited – North Carolina could do the same, make a ton of money and fill in budget gaps. But the legislators were premature; no geological survey had been done by the USGS so no one even knew how much natural gas there was to be tapped. They plowed ahead, seeing visions of gold.

They wrote a bill to repeal N.C.’s moratorium on fracking. They set up a Mining and Energy Commission and charged it to make rules. The MEC held hearings across the state, where, overwhelmingly, people argued against it and testified about the destruction and dangers of fracking.

Finally the survey came in: N.C. has a very small supply of natural gas, not enough for investors to bother even drilling test holes. In fact the only company that showed interest couldn’t get investors to participate.

So what does the legislature do? No problem, the state will become the investor and front the exploration money. That is, the taxpayers will. All those who vehemently opposed it will now be forced to pay for it. Good way to solve a problem – hit up the taxpayers.

Eleanor Kinnaird

Chapel Hill

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