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Panel Discusses Potential Perils Of NC Fracking

Taken by Tim Ruggiero

Fracking is an inevitability in North Carolina since the legislature lifted a fracking moratorium, but questions remain as to the risk and what will be done with the waste.

Fracking involves using highly pressurized fluid to drill into the ground and release certain substances, such as natural gas, but the process creates a potentially toxic byproduct that must be disposed of. One way that’a done is by burying it in deep wells, something that few people are eager to have in their region of the state.

"The question is if you're going to let these people drill these wells and put this toxic brine in it, where are you going to do it?” said WRAL Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie on the State of Things.

Most of the fracking will take place in central North Carolina, where the ground makeup isn’t conducive to deep well disposal. Eastern North Carolina’s ground is much more hospitable, but some worry that it is unfair to burden that region with the risk, unless they share in the reward.

“This is the end of the world,” said author, journalist and Scientific American blogger Scott Huler, adding later, “This is taking chances with our groundwater."

He said that the science isn’t well understood and more research is necessary.

Mitch Kokai, director of communications for the John Locke Foundation, said you can argue about the value of fracking, but at this point, it’s going forward.       

“You can object that it’s going too fast,” he said, adding later, "It's the legislature's decision and if you're mad about fracking, vote against them.”

The guests also discussed with host Frank Stasio a proposed voter ID law and the sacking of some members of various state commissions.

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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