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North Carolina Governor Vetoes Controversial Fracking Bill
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue announced on July 1 that she had vetoed a controversial, Republican-backed proposal to legalize fracking throughout the state. The bill, Senate Bill 820, was backed by the Republican leaders of the North Carolina House and Senate who said it would give state regulators up to two years to implement rules governing the practice and that state lawmakers would have to approve those rules before any fracking wells could actually be drilled.
However, grassroots environmental organizations pushed Perdue to veto the bill, saying safeguards should be put into place before fracking is legalized, not the other way around. Though in the past Perdue has said that she supports fracking, she released a statement yesterday saying that this bill was moving too quickly and without putting adequate safeguards in place.
"This bill does not do enough to ensure that adequate protections for our drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments and the health and safety of our families will be in place before fracking begins," Perdue said.
This is the second time that Perdue stopped a Republican effort to legalize fracking in her state, where it is currently illegal. In 2011, Perdue vetoed another piece of legislation that would have put shale gas exploration on a fast track to approval in the state.
“We applaud Governor Perdue for listening to the people of this state and vetoing this misguided piece of legislation," said Molly Diggins, state director of the North Carolina Sierra Club. "We agree with the Governor that this legislation did not go far enough to protect drinking water and landowners. We are committed to working with state legislators to uphold this veto to ensure that our drinking water resources aren’t needlessly put at risk of contamination. We hope the legislature will turn its focus to finding ways to develop real energy solutions, like solar and offshore wind, that will create long term jobs while keeping our air and water clean.”
In addition, Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina said, "Governor Perdue stood up for our drinking water today. She stood up for our air quality and our rural landscapes, and we're enormously grateful.”
According to Environment North Carolina, a 484-page analysis from North Carolina's state environmental agency documents the extent to which fracking has contaminated water supplies and waterways around the country, and calls for seven additional studies to be done before even considering allowing fracking in the state. No studies of any kind were addressed in the fracking bill which Perdue vetoed.
Environment North Carolina and other clean water advocates are now turning their attention back to the North Carolina General Assembly, where the measure did not receive enough initial votes to override the governor's veto.
“We’re urging representatives to stand up for the state’s waters and sustain the governor’s veto,” Ouzts said.
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