A year after her veto, Gov. Perdue looks into fracking, likes it
By Jon Sanders
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Earlier this week, Gov. Bev Perdue took an unannounced trip
to Pennsylvania to look into that state's experiences with hydraulic fracturing
(fracking) to extract natural gas from shale formations. As reported by The
News & Observer,
The governor's office did not
provide an itinerary for the trip but said Perdue and the N.C. delegation
received a briefing from Shell Oil and a tour of Shell's operations in Tioga
County before attending a roundtable with state and local officials at
Mansfield University. The delegation -- which flew on the state plane in a
up-and-back trip -- included Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Secretary Dee Freeman; Kari Barsness, the DENR legislative liaison; Williams;
and Nina Szlosberg-Landis, the chairwoman of the Department of Transportation
board and a major Democratic donor that Perdue's office said is "well
known in the environmental community."
Perdue's office said Hanger, a Duke University alumnus, invited the governor to
tour the shale gas operations in Pennsylvania during his recent visit to North
Hanger had spoken recently at Duke University, where he
promoted natural gas as a
practical, clean-energy alternative to coal.
According to the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, whose
report on Perdue's visit caught the N&O's attention, the governor
viewed several drilling and pipeline sites before meeting with commissioners
from Bradford and Tioga counties and representatives from Shell, Chesapeake
Energy, and Northern Tier economic development organizations.
[Tioga County Commissioner Erick] Coolidge
said the governor and her delegation were curious about the water and how it is
affected and handled and how the community adjusts, as well as how the industry
has affected the businesses or economy.
"It is evident by the low unemployment numbers here and in Bradford County
that it is a good thing," he added.
Coolidge said he told Perdue it was important to "engage the
industry" as well as the public in discussion. He also suggested the
localities where drilling is happening have their road bonding and agreements
in place before the trucks arrive, not after.
"The takeaway was to have a lot more advance preparation in place than we
had," he said.
Upon returning home, Perdue announced that fracking could
be done safely in North Carolina with the proper oversight and best
drilling practices. Those were points made in
this newsletter last week, as was the following:
"It's jobs. It's a fuel source
produced in this country, and it's something that can help America and North
Carolina be globally competitive," the governor said.
A further note about the potential hiring boom: The Obama
administration has from its outset devoted sizeable financial resources to
pushing so-called green energy alternatives, yet these extra-market endeavors
have yielded very
little beyond layoffs and bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the fracking revolution
has had such a positive effect on employment that the latest research finds
out of five new, good-paying jobs are in oil and gas.
Perdue, of course, had vetoed
legislation that would have led to a review and likely changes in state law
with respect to hydraulic fracturing. State leaders are expecting to receive
soon a draft of the mandated
report on hydraulic fracturing from the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources. Despite her comments, Perdue has unsurprisingly equivocated; per the
N&O, "A Perdue spokesman said Wednesday evening she hasn't made up her
mind on whether she'll support efforts to make fracking legal in the
In other news:
The New Hampshire House has voted
to repeal that state's Certificate of Need Board. It's a good move. Getting
rid of Certificate
of Need laws is something state leaders here should do. It's one health
care reform that's ripe for
the picking in North Carolina.
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