Whatever Happened to Fracking in North Carolina?

Last year North Carolina was ready to begin drilling in shale layers of the Triassic Basin, which is part of a broader area called the Deep River Basin. Everything was set to go. And then the lawsuits began. A NC judge issued a ruling that prohibited the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) from issuing any permits until another case currently before the NC Supreme Court–questioning the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment–plays out (see Judge Puts NC Fracking on Hold Pending Outcome of Lawsuit). That case was just resolved at the end of January. However, in the meantime, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) didn’t let the lawsuit stop them from drilling a series of test holes in Stokes, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland counties to see whether shale gas is present in those locations (see Lawsuit Won’t Stop NC Agency from Drilling Test Holes in Shale). The results are now in. Three of the four counties tested show there’s no measurable presence of Triassic shale and therefore not suitable for drilling…

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