No More Fracking Tests in the Mountains
Testing for possible fracking in the mountains is now on hold.
The state says our mountain counties don't hold enough natural gas to even continue testing, so for now, that takes fracking off the table.
County and town leaders say they're relieved.
"That is good information to see that DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) officially now has withdrawn the position of of doing any testing in Western North Carolina," Chuck Wooten, Jackson County manager said.
Wooten says it's welcome news to hear DENR won't test for natural gas in western counties, which is a process that could lead to fracking.
Supporters of fracking say it can be done safely, create jobs and provide another energy source, while opponents say it could pollute air and water, concerning residents like Jennifer Combs.
"I think they should preserve the area and keep it in its natural environment," Combs said.
She's pleased testing is called off in seven of our western counties. Experts concluding the terrain doesn't support natural gas deposits. Even Republican lawmakers supporting a bill that could bring fracking to North Carolina say looking for it here is a waste of tax dollars.
Combs says that money should go elsewhere.
"I think they need to take the money and resources that they have for that and place it in places like education," Combs said.
Mountain towns like Webster passed resolutions opposing fracking. Leaders say no further testing in the west is encouraging.
"I would urge cautious optimism because the modernization act still permits fracking," Mayor Nick Breedlove said. "And I think there are other parts of North Carolina we should still be concerned about.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says despite no testing in the west, a public hearing on fracking is still planned for Sept. 12 at Western Carolina University.