Most of us have heard the term fracking by now. In states where this underground energy extraction method is being used, the track record is not good for the folks who live there. Contamination of drinking water, associated health problems and even earthquakes have been tied to fracking.
There has been such a rush to make a profit from these energy sources that the welfare of people living over or near these extraction areas has been largely ignored. North Carolina is poised to give the green light to fracking — in its most populated areas — with virtually no safeguards in place.
It should be obvious to our legislators that a short term profit from a relative small amount of energy resources should not leave land and drinking water contaminated for centuries. Apparently this is not the case. There is action that you can – and should – take immediately.
On a state level, urge your representative (Roger West 919-733-5859 for Macon, Swain, Graham and Clay Counties; Joe Sam Queen 919-715-3005 and Michelle Presnell 919-733-5732 for Jackson and Haywood Counties; and Joe Sam Queen for Haywood County) to vote against SB 76, which has unfortunately already passed the N.C. Senate under the cosponsorship of Sen. Jim Davis and been referred to the N.C. House for action. Roger West and Michelle Presnell are members of the House Commerce Committee, which will be the first to consider SB-76. This bill is essentially an end run around previous legislation which would have given timely consideration to the negative impacts of fracking and the measures necessary to assure a continuing healthy living environment for those living in impacted areas.
On a national level, tell your representative (Mark Meadows for most of us in Western North Carolina 202-225-6401 to vote for – and to cosponsor - H.R. 1154, the Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act, and H.R. 1175, the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act. This legislation has been introduced to protect air and water quality in communities across the country affected by oil and gas drilling. These bills seek to close loopholes that the oil and gas industry has secured that allow them to play by different rules than other industries.
Please take time to call your representatives now, before the opportunities to protect our healthy environment have passed.
Doug Woodward — Franklin, N.C.
Editor’s note: Fracking is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.