Sophomore Jasmine Ruddy is from Morehead City, one of many coastal communities that could be directly affected by a bill to fast-track hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in North Carolina.
“That makes me really nervous for the health of my family who is still living there and drinks the tap water every day,” said Ruddy, an environmental health sciences major and a member of UNC’s environmental affairs committee of student government.
Fracking retrieves natural gas by pumping a mixture of water and chemicals into shale rock formations.
- N.C. Senate Bill 76 would enable companies to begin drilling for natural gas sooner than current law allows.
- The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mining and Energy Commission could issue permits for oil and gas exploration starting in March 2015.
- Both the department and commission would work to develop a comprehensive permit for well construction, water management and waste disposal by October 2013.
Proponents of the process say it taps into an otherwise inaccessible energy source that could reduce oil dependency.
But critics of the bill claim fracking uses too much water and could pollute drinking sources, especially in coastal areas suitable for waste deposits.