Monday, June 9, 2014
Even Here in the Mountains
The NC General Assembly has been very busy in this short session. It took only three days with no open discussion (and no debate) to overturn the moratorium on fracking (hydraulic fracture of shale to obtain natural gas under pressure from chemicals) in our state. So much for transparency.
The new law does not have a lot of specifics limiting companies wanting to extract natural gas from our shale. Governor McCrory is fully supportive of the new law, called the "Energy Modernization Act." The new law prohibits local governments from making restrictions on the oil and gas exploration and methods. The law also allows for "compulsory pooling," allowing fracking under the property without the landowner's consent if a certain percentage of nearby landowners have sold fracking rights. Gives new meaning to "drill, baby, drill" doesn't it?
And this from the party whose battle cry has been, "get big government off our backs."
Prior to passing the law lifting the fracking moratorium, the General Assembly passed a law prohibiting individuals from disclosing the chemicals used in the fracking process. The original bill made it a felony to disclose this information but the final law makes it a misdemeanor. The law gives gas companies the ability to pursue criminal charges against persons disclosing what they learn about the specific chemicals used in the fracking process. Firefighters and police officers could be forced to sign confidentiality statements in cases of accidental contamination and would be forbidden to disclose chemical exposure.
And yet one more insult to Western NC, the General Assembly has allocated more than half a million dollars to explore the possibility of natural gas deposits in seven Western NC counties. It is of note that these counties are very near the Eastern Continental Divide. In other words, they are near the very origin of fresh water; where the water begins. You might ask why the state would pay for exploring the possibility of natural gas. Isn't exploration part of the gas/oil company's responsibility? Is it a coincidence that our Governor worked as an executive at Duke Energies for 28 years and received tremendous contributions from them for his election? Our former US Representative is now a lobbyist for Duke Energies and many NC appointments went to former Duke Energies employees.
Someone sent me this and I can't recall who sent it or how to credit it. But sometimes I feel as if the General Assembly is the mother bird, big oil/gas is the favored one, and the rest of us are being stomped in the head.
On a totally different subject, my sister-in-law was born on D-Day. Not just on June 6; but on June 6, 1944. She and my brother live in Oregon and to celebrate her hallmark birthday this year, she did a long zipline tour atop the trees in the Cascade Mountains. You go, girl!