Fracking Debate: North Carolina Crowd, Over 500, Opposes Allowing Fracking
In “North Carolina Fracking Debate Draws Hundreds to Chapel Hill,” reporter Elizabeth Friend captured the spirit of the audience, packed to capacity in a 530 seat auditorium, with a comment from North Carolinian Kathy Kaufman, an EPA analyst. Kaufman asked, “Do we want to defile our beautiful area and poison our air for this? At the very least, let’s take the time to study this thoroughly before we take an irreversible gamble with this beautiful place we call home.”
Friend reports that 50 speakers opposed allowing high-volume hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” in North Carolina at all; 6 spoke in favor. North Carolina currently does not allow fracking. Excerpts:
CHAPEL HILL- More than 500 people packed the auditorium at East Chapel Hill High School on Monday to discuss a draft report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the feasibility of hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina. The crowd was overwhelmingly against the practice, which is currently not allowed in the state.
Kathy Kaufman, an Orange County resident and EPA analyst, urged officials to keep it that way.“Take a step back. Think about the long term damage we’re risking in return for gas that only lasts for a limited time…” said Kaufman. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the practice of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits by injecting high-pressure streams of water, sand and chemicals. Proponents say it will bring jobs to the state and decrease the country’s dependence on foreign oil, while critics say the practice contaminates groundwater, pollutes the air and ruins the quality of life in surrounding communities.
The preliminary report from DENR notes that the quantity and availability of shale gas in North Carolina is unknown, as the data come from a pair of exploratory wells in Lee County… Nonetheless, the report suggests it might be possible to extract shale gas safely, provided proper regulatory mechanisms are put into place.
Numerous speakers took issue with this conclusion, including Colin Zimmer.“This is disrespectful of the people of the state of North Carolina. It’s irresponsible,” said Zimmer, to great applause. “Take responsibility for your report. The conclusion is ‘We don’t know.’ Take responsibility for your ignorance, and then we can start from there.”