Group considers suing North Carolina to stop fracking

ANSON COUNTY — Anson County residents are calling for action after Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that would allow fracking permits to be issued as early as next year.

Anson is one of 14 counties in North Carolina where fracking could occur. According to the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, those counties include Rockingham, Yadkin, Davie, Granville, Durham, Wake, Anson, Montgomery, Chatham, Lee, Sanford, Union and Moore counties.

Local advocates, like Deborah Arnason, are demanding state lawmakers hold a public hearing in Anson County to discuss fracking.

“Do I ever feel like my voice is not being heard,” she said. “My concerns are huge.”

One group said they are considering suing the state to stop fracking.

Under the new law, cities and counties cannot stop fracking locally.

“No matter where we are in the state. That's something we should be concerned about,” said Shannon Binns, with Sustain Charlotte.

The Senate budget includes spending close to a million dollars in taxpayer money to drill test wells across the state. 

Arnason does feel that’s fair to taxpayers who oppose fracking.

“How could they ask us to subsidize our own demise?” she said.

McCrory's office said in the first seven years, fracking could generate close to 500 jobs and $80 million annually for the state.

But some people living in Anson County said they’re more concerned about their health.

The process of fracking involves crews drilling wells and then pumping chemicals and water into the ground, releasing the natural gas. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, those chemicals could contaminate the water supply.

Arnason relies on well water, which comes directly from a nearby spring. She’s worried what fracking could do to her drinking water.

“It's risking the drinking water for a couple of million people just to possibly employ a few hundred people,” Binns said.

The EPA has linked fracking with air pollution. 

Tom Mather, a spokesman with the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources said they will closely monitor environmental changes.

"If there is development that takes place, we feel we have the regulatory authority currently in place to control that," he said.

Before fracking is allowed in North Carolina, state lawmakers will have to approve a list of fracking regulations. A spokesman with the Governor’s Office said that could take months.

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