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Shale Gas Conference Underway in Raleigh

A conference on North Carolina shale is underway in Raleigh. Scientists, government officials, environmentalists, and industry representatives will consider the potential and pitfalls of natural gas drilling in the state.

Rick Kolb is with the Carolinas Section of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, a conference co-sponsor. He says he hopes the discussions at the two-day gathering can get beyond familiar arguments over whether drilling is good or bad.

Rick Kolb: Yes it will bring jobs to the state if it is an economic resource, but at the same time, we want those jobs not necessarily to be clean jobs, ideally they'd be clean but there's environmental impact in everything we do  but that we can keep the emotions down and the politics out of it and just make our decisions on how to move forward in a scientifically-based way.

The legislature recently cleared the way for the controversial drilling method known as fracking. Kolb says if there turn out to be significant gas reserves in the state, he hopes regulations can be designed that will protect the environment while allowing economic development.

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