Well, SB 76 has passed in the Senate. There was an amendment that was added to what was passed, but I didn’t catch what that was. There were valid arguments for opposing the bill, ranging from the need to let MEC develop the regulations, to reviewing the geology, to maintaining an emphasis on energy efficiency (on the to-be-(re)created Energy Jobs Council), and calling attention to the misnomer of the jobs to be created by fracking here. But alas, the bill passed.
I want to add to my critique that the registry of landmen was a great idea: the bill’s authors stated that no other state has one, and it was just a feel good measure that really doesn’t display anything. My response to that: it shows that these people who approach landowners for mineral leases had to take the time to go and register themselves, and they have at least that minimum level of professionalism. Yes, a landowner should do due diligence in consulting a lawyer over the proposed lease, but this was a good requirement.
I looked at the 3rd edition of the bill posted on the NCGA website and the section on the prohibition of wastewater injection into the substrate definitely looks more permissive on this reading:
Section 4 (b) The discharge of any wastes to the subsurface or groundwaters of the State by means of wells is prohibited. This section shall not be construed to prohibit (i) the operation of closed‑loop groundwater remediation systems in accordance with G.S. 143‑215.1A or (ii) injection of hydraulic fracturing fluid for the exploration or development of natural gas resources.resources and water produced from subsurface geologic formations during the extraction of natural gas, condensate, or oil in North Carolina.
It is imperative that the House amend that portion of the bill to prohibit injection of flowback and produced water from fracking.
Again, I have not read the entire bill as thoroughly as I should, but looking a little closer at this proposed Energy Jobs Council, the emphasis on natural gas is undeniable. We definitely need a greater balance of the whole range of energy-related industry, because a grossly underrated sector in workforce development is employing low-skilled and/or dislocated workers in weatherizing homes and businesses. The savings demonstrated in weatherization is both on energy consumption and on utility costs – a win-win. I hope there will be much more real discussion over this bill in the House.
As promised, here’s my interpretation of SB 76, which has already passed the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee, and will head to the floor for a vote. This is not an exhaustive breakdown, and I’ve really only combed through the first version’s section on fracking and not examined the offshore stuff, but I have some issues of aspects of the bill, and especially with the discussion around it.
The “Domestic Energy Jobs Act” sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? That’s the name of the bill, and it’s a misnomer. By permitting fracking permits in March 2015, I do not think there’s a real mechanism to fund any technical training program in our community/technical colleges to have North Carolinians trained to work on natural gas development rigs. The number of jobs that will be generated by gas development, including direct, indirect, and induced jobs, is not a huge…
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