Under the Dome

Three Wake Republicans push to regulate fracking pollution

A week after state legislators exempted fracking from being regulated for toxic air emissions, a trio of Wake County Republicans introduced a bill Monday that would require such legislation.

The bill responds to last week’s legislative flurry in which lawmakers exempted fracking from air-quality oversight and then reversed themselves the next day.

Monday’s bill – sponsored by Reps. Gary Pendleton, Chris Malone and Nelson Dollar – clears up any ambiguity. It says the N.C. Environmental Management Commission will write standards governing toxic air emissions, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants generated by hydraulic fracturing.

Shale gas drilling generates air pollution from a host of industrial sources: heavy truck traffic, generators, pneumatic pumps, compressors and dehydrators.

The bill also calls for standards governing a leak detection and repairs to gas-handling equipment.

The Environmental Management Commission is currently awaiting guidance on air pollution standards from the Mining and Energy Commission.

In last week’s vote, lawmakers voted 108-6 to support an amendment from Rutherford Republican Mike Hager to exempt fracking from air quality monitoring and regulation. Only six Democrats voted against the bill and later most said they didn’t understand what they were voting for.

The next day lawmakers rebuffed Hager by voting 77-41 to restore the requirement to regulate air emissions.

Murawski: 919-829-8932