Posted: Tuesday, 27 March 2012 7:53PM
Fracking Hearing Preceeded By Rally
Ran Northam Reporting
CHAPEL HILL – Citizens both for and against hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina stood outside East Chapel Hill High School before Tuesday night’s hearing on fracking
The State Department of Environmental and Natural Resources hosted the hearing, but before the meeting, many people gathered at the entrance of the high school to further voice their opinion and rally together.
“This is giving people the opportunity to express their concerns about fracking and the need to make sure we have adequate protections for our air and water,” said NC Sierra Club Communications Director Dustin Chickurel-Bayerd.
Snow Camp resident Roger Owens agreed. “I don’t understand why we don’t produce our own energy here, and keep our dollars here rather than buy it from countries in the Far East that hate us. We’re sending our money over there to countries that don’t even like us to start with. (We) need to keep those dollars over here and produce jobs over here.”
“The reason we’re out here rallying is (we’re) in support of clean water in North Carolina,” said Margaret Hartzell, Policy Advocate for Environment North Carolina. “Fracking is a dangerous form of natural gas extraction that we don’t need in North Carolina. We’ve seen thousands of cases of ground water contamination in places like Pennsylvania where fracking is prevalent and we want to make sure that the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources goes slow when it comes to fracking. Now is not the time. We don’t have the infrastructure. We don’t have the laws in place…We don’t have the proof that fracking is safe.”
Orange County Resident Michael Coon said, “I’m out here to support this rally because I believe we need home-grown energy. We need to produce energy in this country and it would be nice if we could even produce it in this state. It would bring revenue to the state. (It) would bring jobs to the state. I think it would help the economy overall. As far as fracking goes, from the research I’ve done on it, what I’ve heard is there are 30 other states that have gone through fracking and we can learn from whatever they’ve done to make it better here (so) that we won’t have any problems.”
Croatan Earth First was in attendance and publicly announced they are prepared to take further action to stop fracking.
“Just because they legalize this, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” an Earth First representative said. “…If they legalize this, Earth First will be organizing civil disobedience and direct action to physically confront and stop hydro-fracking.”
About 75 to 100 people were present for the demonstration; hundreds more attended the hearing itself.