State Environmental Officials Might Not Have To Adopt Air Quality Standards For Fracking

Mar 11, 2015

A crude oil mining site in Oxnard, Calif.
Credit Faces of Fracking

State environmental officials might not have to adopt air quality standards for fracking. A controversial measure that would passed a key committee in the legislature yesterday.

Rep. Mike Hagar (R-Rutherford), who sponsored the measure, says there are already federal rules governing air quality at fracking sites.

"We're not going to re-write rules that are already out there," he says. "That's inefficient. That costs the taxpayers money for people to go work doing stuff they don't need to do."

But current law requires the commission to write emission standards specifically for fracking sites in North Carolina. And federal rules overlook emissions of methane and other toxic gases, says Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford).

"We know we've got this glaring gap," Haarrison says. "But we also know what the current department of they environment is like, and they aren't exactly inclined to be aggressive about protecting public health."

Applications for North Carolina's first fracking permits could be offered as early as next week.