Perdue, opponents at odds over fracking

March 14, 2012 7:29:52 PM PDT
Activists are rallying the troops in an effort to keep fracking out of North Carolina on the same day Gov. Bev Perdue offered her support of it.

The process could extract underground oil and natural gas in Durham County as well as parts of Lee and Moore Counties.

Environmental activists said the negatives outweigh the positives. Some call it dirty and dangerous.

"The contamination of water is unbelievable; it is terrifying," said Cary resident Lib Hutchby.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking often involves horizontal drilling along with pumping a mixture of chemicals and water to fracture underground shale to release natural gas.

"There are thousands of cases of air pollution," said Renee Maas, with Food and Water Watch.

Several local environmental advocacy groups sponsored an activist course Wednesday evening to teach others about potential hazards.

"We have seen very little good to come from fracking in all the states around the country," said Elizabeth Ouzts, with Environment North Carolina.

Some claim fracking has polluted the water supply elsewhere, and even caused earthquakes.

"America and North Carolina must work aggressively to wean ourselves off foreign oil," said Perdue.

Several months ago, Perdue vetoed a bill that would have allowed test drilling in the state. However, a recent industry-sponsored trip to Pennsylvania sparked a change of heart.

"From what I saw, fracking can be done safely, if you regulate it and put fees in place to have inspectors on the ground," said Perdue. "At the end of the day, it's jobs, it's a fuel source produced in this country, and it's something that can help America and North Carolina be globally competitive."

Still those who oppose fracking believe the state would export most of the fuel to sell a more expensive foreign market, while importing the workers who mine it.

"They don't account for the fact that most jobs go to people who live out of state and are only coming in for short-term drilling jobs," said Maas.

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