Greasing the skids for fracking

North Carolina continues its headlong pursuit of fracking, accelerating the development of the rules that the NCGA requires to be in place before drilling starts.

The state commission that’s creating safety standards for fracking raced through 48 rules Wednesday under a legislative deadline to prepare North Carolina for shale gas exploration by next spring.

The Energy & Mining commission, charged with developing the rules, is stacked with industry pro-fracking members and it's pretty clear that the intent is just to get some rules in place that the industry will accept so that we can get on with poisoning the environment.

Their most recent meeting made that abundantly clear:

Sorry, Jordan Lake, we simply don't care

After a years-long effort to protect Jordan Lake, the NC GOP loons decided that we don't need no stinkin' anti-pollution rules. So Jordan Lake gets more polluted each day. As reported in multiple BlueNC posts, the NC GOP solution is to allow upstream polluters to continue to pollute while experimenting with expensive, ineffective automated water stirrers (stirring up the pollution will help, won't it?).

Fracking causes earthquakes (DUH!)

There's ample evidence that fracking causes earthquakes. It's well known, it's logical, it's demonstrated and reasonable people can easily see how it happens.

So recently it's big news that Ohio geologists have linked fracking to earthquakes that occurred there.

While earlier studies had linked earthquakes in the same region to deep-injection wells used for disposal of fracking wastewater, this marks the first time tremors have been tied directly to fracking

People are pissed at Duke Energy & Pollution

Art Pope's constellation.

The John Locke Foundation, based in Raleigh, is part of conservative businessman and state budget director Art Pope's constellation of free-market, anti-government groups. Its critique of Duke Energy was more muted—but no longer.

We'll get to the main story in a moment, but first we have to relish Bob Geary's turn of a phrase: "Art Pope's constellation of free-market, anti-government groups". We appreciate good writing, and Geary is a consistent source of it. This particular phrase is, in our estimation, just about perfect. Well done Bob!

And now what Bob's getting at:

What could possibly be wrong with one company supplying the electricity to 95 percent of our state? One company that is both public utility and shareholder-owned: Captive customers pay the bills and the company makes all the campaign contributions it wants.

McCrory shills for oil exploration off the coast of NC

Drill, baby, drill.

The News and Observer reports that McCrory, along with the governors of Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama, met with the Interior Secretary yesterday to press for oil and gas exploration off the coast of NC.

I guess since a little coal ash spill is such a minor inconvenience to the state, a little drilling off the coast won't hurt anything. What could happen?

North Carolina solar jobs grew 121% in 2013

Raleigh, NC—North Carolina has more than 3,100 people employed manufacturing and installing pollution-free solar energy, according to a national Solar Jobs Census released today by The Solar Foundation. According to the analysis, North Carolina more than doubled the number of solar jobs from 2012, and added more jobs than every state except California, Massachusetts and Georgia.

“The sun is an unlimited energy source that could provide all of our energy without the air and water pollution associated with coal, oil and gas,” said Dave Rogers, Field Director with Environment North Carolina. “This report shows that the solar industry is putting people to work to meet a growing percentage of our energy needs with a pollution-free energy source that has no fuel costs.”

“Shalefield Stories” Released: Residents on the frontlines of fracking share stories of illness, water contamination, and more

Raleigh, NC — As the future of fracking in North Carolina hangs in the balance, residents in Pennsylvania, where drillers are already running roughshod, recounted their stories of illness, water contamination, and damage to their livelihoods from fracking and drilling operations. Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center released “Shalefield Stories” as the latest evidence that the controversial drilling practice should be kept far away from our water and communities.

“We’ve seen the environmental devastation of fracking add up across the country. But beneath the numbers are real people like Judy from Bradford County whose tap water became contaminated with barium and arsenic after the drillers started fracking on her land,” said Liz Kazal, field associate from Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. “These are their stories, and it is our responsibility to heed their words of warning on fracking.”

North Carolina Leaders Urge Action on Climate Change

Thirty-three concerned public officials from across North Carolina urged the federal government Thursday to take bold steps to reduce global warming pollution.

In an open letter to President Barack Obama, local officials from Buncombe County to Morehead City expressed support for the president’s climate action plan, and asked for continued action to reduce the pollution that is causing global warming, which is already impacting communities throughout North Carolina.

“North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford “From more severe droughts and storms to sea level rise to changes in agricultural productivity, scientists warn that we could see even more frequent and severe extreme weather if we do not dramatically reduce our global warming pollution. “

Budget cuts threaten the Blue Ridge Parkway

Budget Cuts Threaten Future of Blue Ridge Parkway

New Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center Analysis Details Impacts of Budget Cuts to Beloved Parks

Asheville– As Congress deliberates on the federal budget, a new Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center analysis, entitled Death by a Thousand Cuts, exposes the challenges facing the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smokies and other national parks and forests as a result of mounting funding cuts to the National Park Service.

“Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, campgrounds, visitors centers, and picnic areas were closed and ranger-led educational programs were cancelled for the summer,” said Liz Kazal, field associate with Environment North Carolina. “We don’t want a death by a thousand cuts for North Carolina’s national parks and forests.”

Fracking by the Numbers: What's in store for North Carolina?

As Governor McCrory and members of N.C. General Assembly continue pushing to open up North Carolina to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a new report by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center called “Fracking by the Numbers” highlights the risks to North Carolina if the current moratorium on fracking is lifted.

The report is the first study of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking damage nationally to date— including toxic wastewater, water use, chemical use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.

“In state after state, fracking polluted our air, water, and landscapes. If fracking is allowed in North Carolina, this is the kind of damage in store for areas like the Deep River” said Liz Kazal, field associate with Environment North Carolina. “North Carolina’s air, water, and land are just too important to risk. Governor McCrory and the General Assembly need to act now to protect North Carolinians’ air and water.”

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