State environmental officials plan to test for the presence of significant natural gas deposits in seven Western North Carolina counties, a development that alarms environmentalists over the possibility of fracking in the mountains.
The N.C. General Assembly mandated the testing and allocated $550,000 over two years for the project statewide. The mountain counties where the samples will be collected are Clay, Cherokee, Macon, Graham, Swain, Jackson and Haywood.
If they decide to frack there, the drill rigs will be deployed in the valleys (low points), which is also where streams are born and form headwaters that flow into larger bodies. Not that Republicans in the General Assembly care about such things, but it needed to be said.
A city or county may not impose a franchise, privilege, license, income, or excise tax on the severing, production, treating, processing, ownership, sale, storage, purchase, marketing, or transportation on any energy minerals produced in the State, or upon the business of severing, producing, treating, processing, owning, selling, buying, storing, marketing, or transporting such energy minerals, or upon the ownership, operation, or maintenance of plants, facilities, machinery, pipelines, and gathering lines related to the severing, production, treating, processing, ownership, storage, sale, purchase, marketing, or transportation of energy minerals.
I won't go as far as to call this an omnibus, but there are enough changes from the previous versions that it should be discussed in-depth. And a little public notice might have removed the taint of deviousness.
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