Granville County votes no to fracking - WNCN: News, Weather

Granville Co. votes no to fracking

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OXFORD, N.C. -

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is more commonly known, is a process to extract natural gas from deep underground. It's also the subject of a fiery debate in North Carolina and across the country. Just last week, a new plan that could force landowners in the Tar Heel state to allow fracking on their land, was being discussed.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, N.C. could be sitting on more than 700 billion cubic feet of natural gas. How to get that gas, has been the subject of a fiery public debate for years.

A moratorium on drilling in N.C. is still in place, but energy companies and a large number of pro-fracking lawmakers, including Gov. Pat McCrory, have said they want it lifted.

Tuesday night, the battle over fracking came to Granville County. It's one of several counties resting on some of the suspected gas-rich areas, but Tuesday night the community took a stand.

The Granville County board of commissioners heard passionate testimonies from residents who oppose fracking.

Frank McKay with Granville County's Environmental Affairs Committee, said he's against it because of "air pollution, water pollution, pollution to people's wells, and all kinds of accidents at these drilling sites."

"We respect the debate, but quite frankly the debate is over now. Hydraulic fracturing is legal in the State of North Carolina," said Albert Eckel, the Executive Director with the N.C. Energy Forum

Eckel explained there's a lot of misinformation about the drilling process.

"There's been over one million wells that have been fracked since 1960. In every instance there's been no contamination of water" said Eckel.

But McKay doesn't agree.

"I would have to call that a total lie, it has been documented repeatedly. Poisoned wells, poisoned with methane," said McKay.

McCrory however supports fracking.

"We can sit on the sidelines and remain a high unemployment state, or we can get involved in the energy business and put people back to work and participate in the country's energy independence," said McCrory.

Job creation is one of the main reasons why those in favor want fracking in the state.

But Elaine Whitefield, a resident of Granville County, worries about the mess fracking may cause.

"I've been in these environmental fights for over 20 years. They bring in their own people they come in and destroy things, they leave, and you're left to clean up the pile of mess," said Whitefield.

The board of commissioners ultimately voted against fracking and will be drafting a resolution that specifies what they have against it. Their next meeting is Oct. 21. 

Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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