The NC Department of Transportation (DOT) released a study which attempts to estimate the amount of trucking traffic that would be required for a fracking site in NC.
More than 1,600 trucks could haul sand, water and equipment for a single fracking operation in North Carolina, chewing up country roads and causing millions of dollars in damage to roads and bridges, according to the state Department of Transportation. The department is projecting nearly $11 million in maintenance and repairs in one example cited to the state legislature in an agency study of traffic impacts resulting from shale gas drilling.
This study, naturally, is designed to provide pretext for the state or local governments to find a way for the fracking companies to pay for the alleged “damage” done to the roads and bridges due to their operations. A couple things quickly jump to mind on this. First, all those trucks will be buying gas and thus boosting gas tax revenue to DOT, why make the companies pay even more to maintain the roads? Second, it is curious that DOT would single out the fracking industry for this analysis. I highly doubt this type of study is conducted for other businesses considering locating in NC. What about a possible auto plant that state lawmakers seem willing to dole out taxpayer funds to? An auto plant would require lots of truck traffic too, with trucks carrying the finished cars from the plant and truckloads of supplies coming to the plant. Will DOT conduct a study to the road damage caused by an auto plant? And what about the construction of any other major facility, office building, residential neighborhood or retail center? These all require heavy truck traffic during their construction phase. Has DOT ever conducted a study on the road damage caused by these projects? And I bet those public buses, school buses, garbage trucks and recycling trucks cause road damage as well; where is the DOT study on that? This is clearly the case of the state targeting an industry that is being fought by deep-pocketed, radical environmental zealots.