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Fracking in North Carolina

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Fracking in North Carolina
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Fossil fuels present Coal[1]
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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 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. As a result, permits for fracking in North Carolina may be issued as early as the spring of 2015. Before that can happen, however, the Mining and Energy Commission must approve a new set of regulations. As of November 12, 2014, these regulations included over 100 potential new rules. The Mining and Energy Commission approved a final version of the rules on November 14, 2014. The rules will now go to the North Carolina State Legislature. The state legislature will have the final say on the rules during their next session, which begins in January 2015. If the rules are again approved, they are expected to take effect in March 2015.[2][3][4]

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 tradeoffs.

Natural gas use in North Carolina

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

Oil and 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.[5]

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][6][7]

Where electricity comes from in North Carolina[8]
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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North Carolina Fracking News Feed

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See also

External links