North Carolinas environmental protection agency said Tuesday it is now accepting written public comments on the states proposed fracking rules through Sept. 15.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will accept written comments in addition to taking live statements at three public hearings in August.
These will be the last opportunities for North Carolina residents and organizations to comment on the substance of about 120 safety rules proposed to govern shale gas exploration in the state.
Some version of the fracking rules is expected to go into effect next year, with the potential for exploratory drilling to get underway in 2015. Fracking refers to a method of extracting shale gas trapped in underground shale rock formations by blasting the rocks with a high-pressure mix of water, chemicals and sand.
The rules have been formulated during the past two years by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission, a panel created in 2012 by the state legislature to update North Carolinas 1940s-era oil and gas program. They cover a range of issues, from wastewater handling, to well shaft construction, chemical disclosure and permitting.
The rules and hearing schedules can be reviewed here. The link is also a portal to submit written comments electronically.
Written comments can be mailed to: Oil and Gas Program, DENR Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612.