North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue [official website] on Sunday vetoed [press release] a bill [SB 820 materials] that would have lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state. Fracking is the process of injecting a high pressured mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break through rock and release oil and natural gas. Most major oil companies [CNN report], including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP, employ this technique to obtain shale oil and gas. In a statement, Perdue said that although she supports fracking for its benefits to the economy and energy-production, she did not believe the bill provided adequate safeguards for the environment:
I support hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" for natural gas, because I believe it can and should be part of a comprehensive mix of energy sources that will create jobs, reduce costs for businesses and families, and keep our economy growing. Before we "frack," however, we need strong safeguards in place that are specifically adapted to conditions in North Carolina. This bill does not do enough to ensure that adequate protections for our drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and safety of our families will be in place before fracking begins. ... Our drinking water and the health and safety of North Carolina's families are too important; we can't put them in jeopardy by rushing to allow fracking without proper safeguards.Purdue encouraged the legislature to adopt a fracking bill with more environmental protections.
Fracking has been a contentious issue both in the US and abroad. In May, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law [JURIST report] a bill outlawing fracking in the state. In January the New Jersey Legislature passed an amendment to a bill that establishes a one-year ban on fracking [JURIST report]. Legislators re-introduced the bill this year after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed legislation last June that would have permanently banned fracking in New Jersey [JURIST report]. In October the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to develop standards [JURIST report] for wastewater discharge from fracking. Last June New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the US government [JURIST report] for its alleged failure to study the risks of fracking. In May 2011 France's lower house approved a nationwide ban on fracking [JURIST report].