Rush to drill and frack halted, for now

House could override veto of drilling bill in September

Raleigh—In a temporary victory for the state’s beaches and for waterways like the Deep River, lawmakers adjourned today without voting to override Gov. Perdue’s veto of a controversial bill that promotes offshore drilling and onshore “fracking.”

“Thanks to all the House members who stood up for our coasts and our drinking water today,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, State Director of Environment North Carolina.  “Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of this terrible idea.”

Introduced on the anniversary of the BP disaster, Sen. Bob Rucho’s Senate Bill 709 requires Gov. Perdue to form a compact with the governors of Virginia and South Carolina to advocate offshore drilling and exploration in federal waters, including sensitive areas off Cape Hatteras and Wrightsville Beach. 

“This bill does nothing to tap North Carolina’s vast clean energy resources,” said Ouzts.  “Instead, it promotes drilling and the risk of a spill off our treasured coast, where 67,000 North Carolinians work in tourism or fishing.”

Senate Bill 709 also takes a step towards controversial horizontal onshore gas drilling.  Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has contaminated water supplies, caused explosions, and increased air pollution in the communities across the country where it is prevalent.  A recent Duke University study found a correlation between methane contamination in drinking water wells and nearby fracking wells.

The practice is currently illegal in North Carolina, but oil and gas companies are already buying leases to drill near the Deep River in Chatham, Moore, and Lee counties.  

“Senate Bill 709 charts the absolute wrong course for North Carolina’s energy future,” said Ouzts.  “I hope Speaker Tillis sees fit to let it languish.”