Harnett Co. neighbors sound off on fracking - WFLA News Channel 8

Harnett Co. neighbors sound off on fracking

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Dozens had their questions answered at a fracking information session in Angier. Dozens had their questions answered at a fracking information session in Angier.
ANGIER, N.C. - People in North Carolina who could see some of the first wells for natural gas fracking are sounding off.  A public forum on Thursday night in Angier came just weeks after Gov. Pat McCrory made the process legal.

A largely skeptical crowd filled the Angier Elementary School gym.  At times, some grew frustrated with North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission Chair Jim Womack's answers at the informational session.

Fracking involves sending pressurized chemicals underground to extract natural gas.  Proponents, like Womack, say it will boost North Carolina's economy and create jobs.  Womack told audience members that strict regulations on fracking would keep air and drinking water clean.  He also said wastewater from the process could be cleaned up and reused.

Debra Champion of Carthage was skeptical walking in and remained skeptical when she left.

"You're putting dirty water, chemicals," she said.  "He implied that you can drink this. Oh my gosh, please give me a little more credit."

But Sen. Ronald Rabin (R-Harnett), who supports fracking, said North Carolina is learning from other states who legalized it years ago.  He believes it can be done safely.

"We're not doing this in sort of an amateurish way," Rabin said.  "We're being professional.  We're going to get it done so that the water and the air and the people and the environment are safe when we get done doing it."

Some audience members wanted to know what kinds of chemicals would be used in the process.  Womack told the crowd that some of those chemicals could have carcinogens, but said it would be hard for the general public to find out exactly what they are because he said they were trade secrets.

Another questioner expressed concerns that companies could store wastewater in pits, as opposed to storing it in above ground tanks, given the Dan River coal ash leak that occurred earlier this year.  Womack said that while current regulations encourage the use of tanks, he said companies could still use pits, as to not discourage them from setting up shop in the state.

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Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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