ANSON COUNTY, N.C. -- North Carolina lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill that would make it easy for drillers to come in and pull natural gas out of the ground. Commissioners in one county are trying to slow it down.
Anson County Commissioners are expected to introduce a plan Tuesday night to ban fracking in the county for five years while they try to figure out the potential impact on the environment and their citizens' health. Fracking is the process drillers use to fracture rock underground and pull natural gas out. Chemicals are injected during drilling. The safety of those chemicals has been questioned.
The ordinance, if it passes, would put a five year moratorium on fracking in Anson County. After that time, the ordinance would require companies to get a county permit before any drilling can occur.
The ordinance flies in the face of a bill that passed the North Carolina Senate in February, which would allow fracking in North Carolina as soon as March 2015. The bill has yet to pass in the house.
“One of our fears is that they’re moving too fast,” Anson County Attorney Scott Forbes said about state lawmakers. As for the ordinance being introduced Tuesday night, “I’d be surprised if it doesn’t pass,” he said.
The Dan River Basin, which runs through Anson County into central North Carolina, is where geologists think the bulk of the drilling would occur. The United States Geological Survey estimates there’s enough natural gas in the basin to meet the state’s natural gas demand for more than five years.