A move to fast-track the controversial drilling method known as “fracking” in the state to reap potential economic benefits has raised concerns among groups who question the safety of the practice.
An N.C. Senate bill filed last week would enable the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue fracking permits to companies starting in March 2015.
The bill would alter current law, which requires regulations to be established by the end of 2015 and a vote by the N.C. General Assembly before permits can be issued.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the injection of a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into shale rock formations underground to release trapped natural gas.
If the bill is signed into law, thousands of much needed, permanent jobs could be created, said Sen. Buck Newton, R-Johnston, co-sponsor of the bill.