To the Editor:
Most of us have heard the term fracking by now. In states where this underground energy extraction method is being used, the track record is not good for the folks who live there. Contamination of drinking water, associated health problems and even earthquakes have been tied to fracking.
There has been such a rush to make a profit from these energy sources that the welfare of people living over or near these extraction areas has been largely ignored. North Carolina is poised to give the green light to fracking – in its most populated areas — with virtually no safeguards in place.
It should be obvious to our legislators that a short-term profit from a relative small amount of energy resources should not leave land and drinking water contaminated for centuries. Apparently this is not the case.
There is action that you can — and should — take immediately.
On a state level, urge your representative (Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, 919.733.5859 for Macon, Graham, Cherokee and Clay counties; Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, 919.715.3005, for Jackson, Swain and part of Haywood; and Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, 919.733.5732 for Madison, Yancey and part of Haywood) to vote against SB 76, which has unfortunately already passed the N.C. Senate under the co-sponsorship of Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and been referred to the House for action. West and Presnell are members of the House Commerce Committee, which will be the first to consider SB 76. This bill is essentially an end run around previous legislation which would have given timely consideration to the negative impacts of fracking and the measures necessary to assure a continuing healthy living environment for those living in impacted areas.
On a national level, tell your representative (Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, for most of us in Western North Carolina, 202.225.6401) to vote for — and to cosponsor — H.R. 1154, the Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act, and H.R. 1175, the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act. This legislation has been introduced to protect air and water quality in communities across the country affected by oil and gas drilling. These bills seek to close loopholes that the oil and gas industry has secured that allow them to play by different rules than other industries.
Please take time to call your representatives now, before the opportunities to protect our healthy environment have passed.