North Carolina moved one step closer to legalizing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) today when the Senate passed SB 820 and passed it along to the House. The bill would revive an old mining commission to propose laws to safely allow drilling in the state, which would then be brought before the General Assembly for final approval in the years to come.
With a final vote of 29-19, arguments fell along the same lines that have been reiterated since the idea first started circulating around the General Assembly: Proponents spoke to its capacity to create clean energy and jobs, while opponents worried about potential accidents and a lack of geological knowledge about the state. One Senator opposed to the bill questioned whether rumored earthquakes caused by fracking might damage the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant.
Now that the bill has passed its second and third readings in the Senate, it will go before the House to be heard, along with its sister bill HB 1054.