Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Fracking

Apr 17, 2012

The Democratic frontrunners for Governor are working to distinguish themselves from one another before early voting begins later this week. Gurnal Scott looks at one issue where these men stood apart in last night's debate.

Gurnal Scott: Several issues will sway voters opinions about which Democrat: Lt. Governor Walter Dalton, state Representative Bill Faison or former 2nd District Congressman Bob Etheridge will be his party's standard bearer for governor. In last night's debate on WRAL TV in Raleigh, no issue drew a drew a clearer line than fracking, drilling for natural gas in shale rock. Lt. Governor Dalton says he's waiting to see more facts.

Walter Dalton: Because if I understand it correctly, the geology of North Carolina is different than some of the other states the use fracking at this time. Our shelves of shale are closer to the ground water. We are also on a fault line in certain parts of North Carolina. Also, I've heard questions that it would really not be that good of an economy to do that. So I think we need answers to that.

Former Congressman Etheridge says his concern lies in not sacrificing one lucrative industry for what may be a limited yield.

Bob Etheridge: We have to remember that tourism is one of the top industries in this state. We don't want to do anything that creates a negative environment for our tourism because that is a clean industry that creates a lot of revenue for North Carolina and a lot of jobs.

While Etheridge and Dalton left the door cracked on fracking, Rep. Faison slammed it shut. He says there would be no place for it in his administration.

Bill Faison: It's a terrible idea. It would only bring this state at most a hundred jobs. There's no need for it right now. There's fracking in other parts of the country that have different geology. There are reserves that will go such that it won't benefit anybody for the next ten years.

Faison not only disagrees with his opponents, but with the likely Republican candidate for governor. Pat McCrory has gone on record not only supporting fracking but offshore drilling as well. The Democrats will get together for round two of their campaign sparring tonight on UNC-TV.