by Lisa Sorg
Pittsboro could join the towns of Creedmoor and Carrboro in its official opposition to fracking if the Town Board passes a resolution tonight.
The resolution asks the General Assembly to “maintain current laws in North Carolina that prevent hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the state,” unless it can be proven that the controversial practice would not damage the environment, economy or public health.
Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller has publicly opposed fracking.
Fracking is illegal in North Carolina, although last year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 709, that would have opened the door for energy companies to drill on land and offshore. Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed the bill.
Energy companies have targeted Chatham and Lee counties as potential drilling sites, and have already signed leases with landowners in case fracking is legalized.
Fracking uses a chemical stew to help fracture rock below ground and release the gas trapped there. Methane leaked from these fracking wells has been detected in drinking wells in other states where the practice is legal.
In addition to the potential harm to the Haw River, Jordan Lake and other waterways, there are concerns that injection wells used in fracking, which have been linked to dozens of earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arkansas, could cause similar problems in Chatham County. The area, the resolution says, is near the Jonesboro Fault and within 25 miles of the Shearon Harris nuclear plant. However, plant officials have said Shearon Harris was built to withstand earthquakes up to 6.1 on the Richter Scale. The Ohio quakes measured between 2.7 and 4.0.
It would be a major vote for the two newest board members, Beth Turner and Bett Foley Wilson, who were elected last fall.
The board will hear from several speakers who helped draft the resolution. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Pittsboro Town Hall, 635 East St.