Chapel Hill native James Taylor gets in on fracking debate

Chapel Hill native James Taylor gets in on fracking debate (Image 1)

Fracking in North Carolina is closer than ever in becoming a reality, as the NC Mining and Energy Commission is positioned to give their final assessment to the General Assembly by October.

Keely Wood's picturesque horse farm rests on 12 acres of land in Lee County. She also owns property resting on a potential natural gas gold mine, prime real estate for fracking.

“They can come under your property without your consent,” said Wood.

Wood said she was approached by a gas company seven years ago to lease her land, but turned them down. She believes if a company decides to set up shop in her neighbor's backyard, however, they can drill underneath her property.

“I'm worried about the abuse eminent domain.”

In addition to her concerns about her property value dropping, she's also concerned that her horses will be drinking contaminated water.

The executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council doesn't believe that will happen.

“Hydraulic fracturing as a process has not led to any water contamination issues itself, in the history of fracturing as far as any scientific data can show,” David McGowan said.

Raleigh activist Therese Vick disagrees.

“You're starting to see the evidence come in now. Public health concerns around air quality of methane contamination of ground water, but these thousands of well sites in the country do not have ground water monitoring wells,” Vick said.

Chapel Hill native and legendary singer James Taylor is also getting involved in the debate. In an ad that will start airing in the Triangle on Thursday he's pushing the lawmakers to stop fracking altogether.

“I'm concerned that big oil and gas are pushing the governor and Legislature to allow reckless fracking.”

Meanwhile in many counties sitting on property prime for fracking, homeowners are following the movements by The NC Mining and Energy Commission carefully, ready to give their input, once the commission opens the floor for a public forum this summer.

Two years ago, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 820 to allow fracking, but not until the Mining and Energy Commission submits their proposal in October, with all the rules natural gas companies will need to follow.

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