Fracking in North Carolina

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Fracking in North Carolina
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Regulation
Regulatory agency Mining and Energy Commission
Resources
Fossil fuels present Coal and shale gas[1]
Fracking
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Fracking in North Carolina depends on available energy resources, the location of these resources, applicable laws and regulations, politics, and the power of environmental and industry groups. Decisions by policymakers and citizens, including state and local governments and ballot initiatives, affect if and how fracking occurs in a state.

Although there are no natural gas or crude oil reserves in North Carolina, there are shale gas deposits in the state, which means that fracking is feasible. On June 4, 2014, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the Energy Modernization Act, which lifted a fracking moratorium that had been in place since 2012. North Carolina's fracking moratorium officially ended on March 17, 2015, after new regulations were passed that allowed the state to issue permits for fracking. Whether hydraulic fracturing will occur in North Carolina is still not certain. According to The News and Observer, there are not any pipelines in North Carolina that could be used to transport extracted shale gas, and according to state geologist Kenneth Taylor, pipelines are expected to cost $1 million per mile.[2][3][4][5][6]

History

A natural gas pipeline

In 2008, the North Carolina Geological Survey released a study that found shale gas deposits in Lee County, Moore County and Chatham County. Although 44 test wells had been drilled in the state as of March 2015, none of these test wells had determined how much shale gas was in the state. In 2012, the North Carolina State Legislature passed SB 820, which directed the state's Mining and Energy Commission to create fracking regulations. This law did not allow fracking in North Carolina, that required another vote from the legislature, which happened in June 4, 2014 (as mentioned above).[2]

On November 14, 2015, the Mining and Energy Commission approved a final version of the rules for fracking. These rules then had to be approved by the state legislature. As these rules were being debated, there was controversy over state air regulations. The final version of the rules do not require the state Environmental Management Commission to create new air pollution rules if existing regulations are found to be adequate. The state legislature approved a final version of the rules on March 16, 2015, after which Governor Pat McCrory signed the rules into law.[7][8][9]

Fracking background

See also: Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.

Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.

Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political trade-offs.

Natural gas use in North Carolina

For more information on energy consumption, see "Energy policy in North Carolina"

Oil and natural gas exploration has occurred in North Carolina, but reserves sufficient enough for development have not been found. Natural gas is not being produced in the state. A natural gas pipeline expansion is planned that will connect the state to Marcellus and Utica Shales shale gas production.[10]

Consumption of energy for heating homes in North Carolina
Source North Carolina 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 24.8% 49.5%
Fuel oil 4.8% 6.5%
Electricity 59.2% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 8.6% 5%
Other/none 2.5% 3.6%

There are seven total natural gas utilities in North Carolina. North Carolina is supplied natural gas through Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., East Tennessee Natural Gas Co. and Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.[1][11][12]

Where electricity comes from in North Carolina[13]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 26,000 0.26% 0.09%
Natural gas-fired 2,126,000 21.05% 0.21%
Coal-fired 4,217,000 41.75% 0.24%
Nuclear 3,139,000 31.08% 0.4%
Hydroelectric 342,000 3.39% 0.11%
Other renewables 239,000 2.37% 0.12%
Total net electricity generation 10,101,000 100% 0.25%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

News items

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See also

External links

References