The fracking issue is exploding in Western North Carolina as a public hearing on proposed oil and gas rules in the state draws closer.
Look for special coverage in next week’s issue of The Smoky Mountain News on what the proposed rules mean. We hope the issue will serve as your guide to the fracking debate, and specifically to the pros and cons of the pending rules that will lay the groundwork for oil and gas extraction.
Fracking critics have claimed the spotlight in recent months with a bevy of meetings, speakers, film screenings and discussions. This week, however, fracking supporters got a voice at a forum hosted by N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, billed as the real story on fracking. Due to press deadlines, the forum could not be included in this week’s edition, but it will be included in next week’s special coverage.
Venue change for fracking hearing
A public hearing on North Carolina’s proposed oil and gas rules will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center at Western Carolina University.
This is a change in venue from the original location of WCU’s Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. University officials opted for the change in venue, according to a press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Registration for those who wish to speak starts at 4 p.m. The deadline for written comments goes through Sept. 30.
Opponents to organize around talking points
The Canary Coalition, Clean Water for North Carolina and Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking will hold a training session from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva to help fracking opponents hone effective talking points in advance of the upcoming fracking hearing.
The hearing will be a forum for people to recommend specific changes to the proposed rules rather than a place to take a stand as pro- or anti-fracking. The training session will cover the law that passed this summer lifting the ban on fracking in N.C. and the newly proposed rules and guidelines for hydraulic fracturing. Known as fracking, the process involves injecting water mixed with sand and a chemical cocktail into a deep wellbore in order to extract natural gas from the rock below.