It may be that induced hydraulic fracturing, the process commonly known as fracking, is a perfectly safe and effective way to draw natural gas from deep within the earth’s crust. It could be that fears about the process polluting groundwater reservoirs and inflicting considerable and irreversible environmental damage are overblown and without merit.
Until North Carolina knows that for certain, however, it makes sense to allow research and determine the necessary regulations to ensure protection of drinking water near fracking sites. The General Assembly has two bills with competing approaches to this issue and backing a measure that moves hastily to allow the process would be a grave mistake.
The N.C. Legislature intends to only cover a few policy items during its short session this year, but the issue of natural gas exploration somehow earned a place at the table. After several attempts to open the state’s coastline to oil drilling failed, lawmakers turned their attention to another potential source of fuel and employment, looking to allow the controversial process known as fracking.
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