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From the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, shared Sept. 23:
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RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has scheduled a public meeting for Oct. 10 in Sanford as the department prepares to spend the coming months studying the potential environmental and economic impacts of shale gas exploration and development in North Carolina.
Session Law 2011-276 directed DENR to study the issue of oil and gas exploration in the state and to specifically focus on the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas. During the study, DENR will conduct at least two public meetings in the area of the state where a potential shale gas resource exists.
An internal DENR working group, including staff from the divisions of Air Quality, Water Quality, Land Resources, Water Resources and Waste Management, has put together a draft plan for the study. The public meeting is designed to present this draft plan of study and to receive input from the public on any additional issues that need to be addressed in the study.
The meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Sanford at the McSwain Extension Education & Agriculture Center, located at 2420 Tramway Road. Written comments on this draft plan of study will be accepted through Oct. 18, in addition to any feedback received at the Oct. 10 public meeting.
Written comments can be sent via e-mail to Shale_gas_comments@ncdenr.gov; or through the mail to NCDENR, attn: Trina Ozer, 1601 MSC, Raleigh, N.C., 27699.
At least one more public hearing will be held during the winter to gather input on the draft study report.
NCDENR has also set up a website that will provide an overview of the shale gas issue; describe current regulations associated with shale gas exploration; explain how the department will study the issue (and provide study results when complete); and guide the public in how to receive updates on the study, as well as how to provide comment on the issue. This website can be found by visiting DENR’s home page – www.ncdenr.gov – and clicking on the “Shale Gas” tab near the center of the page.
Editor’s note: The section of the agency’s website with shale gas information includes information about geologic assessments, laws regulating permitting and construction of oil and gas wells, the agency’s study and more details about public input opportunities.
Read Carolina Public Press’ previous report on hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking,’ and the bill Western North Carolina’s N.C. Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R-McDowell) proposed that led to the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources formal study of the issue.