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Shelley Vinyard,
Environment North Carolina

North Carolina officials want local control of fracking

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC-- More than 70 mayors, county commissioners, city councilors, and other elected officials from communities across North Carolina issued a letter to Governor Pat McCrory today, calling for the local authority to limit and prohibit dangerous fracking operations. The letter’s release follows another bill passed by the legislature to constrict local authority of the drilling practice.

“As local elected officials, we are deeply concerned about the significant and growing threat hydraulic fracturing poses to our health and environment,” reads the letter, organized by the advocacy group Environment North Carolina, the statewide advocacy group. “We urge you to stand up for the right of all communities to determine whether, where, and how this dirty drilling is conducted within their own borders.”

During the last legislative session, the General Assembly circumvented local government authority by restricting municipalities from placing any regulations on fracking. Last year, the legislature prevented communities from banning fracking from their jurisdictions.

North Carolina isn’t alone in this trend. In May Texas adopted a law barring local regulations of fracking, invalidating measures in Denton and other Texas communities. Oklahoma soon followed suit.

The battle over who regulates fracking comes as the scientific evidence against the drilling technique continues to mount. An analysis of recent peer-reviewed studies determined that 72 percent of them showed “indication of potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination.”

The best way for North Carolina to protect public health from fracking is to follow the lead of states like Maryland and New York and prevent it from beginning altogether, Environment North Carolina said today. Until then, city and county governments should have the chance to protect their citizens from harm, said the group.

“Local communities deserve clean water and clean air, so they deserve local control of fracking," said Liz Kazal, field director for Environment North Carolina.

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Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener North Carolina. Find out more at www.EnvironmentNorthCarolina.org.