Hydraulic Fracturing – aka fracking

 fracking3_web_0Horizontal drilling (along with traditional vertical drilling) allows for the injection of highly pressurized fracking fluids into the shale area. This creates new channels within the rock from which natural gas is extracted at higher than traditional rates.

What has been learned from areas that have allowed fracturing to harvest natural gas and oil that would be otherwise too expensive:

  1. Fracturing chemicals can leach into ground water. North Carolina has passed legislation making it a criminal offense to disclose fracturing chemicals.
  2. Air quality is impacted. In North Carolina, environmental funding is at an all-time low.
  3. Oklahoma and other states are experiencing frequent shallow earthquakes that seem to be growing stronger. Buildings and other structures including a prison are finding cracks in walls and ceilings. In North Carolina, building codes do not compensate for possible earthquake damage, leaving the public at risk.
  4. Land values have declined in fracturing areas.
  5. Banks will not loan money for structures in a fracturing area because of the contingent environmental liability.
  6. Some states receive royalties for the removal of natural resources that are public trust. Not in North Carolina. The current political leaning in this state is to give enormous tax breaks to energy companies.
  7. There has been no education of the public giving them a chance to determine if they own the mineral rights under their property. If a neighbor agrees to fracturing on their property and a horizontal well is installed which takes product from neighboring properties you can’t stop it. It is called forced pooling.  The General Assembly has removed this right without public hearings or notification.

forced_pooling_cartoonDuke Energy is a prime example of how environmental degradation of the public trust in North Carolina will be handled. The governor says he will leave any rate hike for the clean-up of the coal ash up to the Utilities Commission, which is a body of his and the legislature’s appointees.

Wind and solar power do not have spills or contaminate public trust. If NC gave as many tax breaks to alternative energy, there could be more jobs and a cleaner environment to pass on to future generations.