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Public weighs in on issue of hydrofracking

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TWC News: Public weighs in on issue of hydrofracking
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RALEIGH — The discussion about hyrdofracking in North Carolina continued Friday.

The State Mining and Energy Commission met for the second time this week to talk about the controversial method of drilling for natural gas.

At this meeting, the public had the chance to weigh in.

Chatham County resident Sharon Garbutt wants to eliminate the possibility on the idea of hydralic fracturing also known as hydrofracking.

“I feel like they're doing an experiment to see whether or not our water table is contaminated,” said Garbutt.

Garbutt addressed her concerns to the state mining and energy commission. The commission must come up with rules to monitor gas exploration in the state by October of next year.

At the meeting, the commission looked at other states like Pennsylvania as a guide.

“[We] see what they've done well, see what they need revising, and we're in a position where we can be able to determine whether or not sort of cherrypick the best of the best to see what's important for North Carolina's environment, geology, and public health,” said commission member Amy Pickle.

The natural gas drilling method is gaining momentum in the state legislature. The State House is getting ready to consider a bill that could allow permits for fracking to be issued in March 2015.

Many believe tapping into the energy business is just what the state needs, but Garbutt worries that is hiding the bigger issue of pollution.

“We have a very unique geology in North Carolina, the water table is very close to the shell layer and my concerns are is that when we do the fracking the water table will become contaminated,” said Garbutt.

Members of the commission say public safety is top priority and they look forward to hearing more public comment as the discussions continue.

“I feel that the most important job of any official, commission or legislator in North Carolina is to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians, I think business interests need to come second to that,” said Pickle.

The commission is expected to meet again in April.

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