The backlash against North Carolina's fracking prospects continues, and in the state's hottest drilling destination, no less.
Commissioners in Lee County
—where drilling leasing has already begun—may vote as soon as next week on a controversial, two-year moratorium on fracking, following up on neighboring Chatham County's vote to do the same in August.
Fracking permitting "without thorough study would be premature and could result in standards that are inadequate to regulate or mitigate the local impacts," the board's draft resolution reads. Support for drilling in these counties has eroded in recent years as stories spread of widespread environmental impacts in other states.
And while state law forbids outright bans on fracking by local governments, advocates in places like Chatham and Lee point out it says nothing of temporary moratoriums. Lee County officials say they hope to use the time to consider revisions to their land use plan.
It's a popular tactic these days. After Chatham County approved their moratorium this summer, leaders in Stokes County, a suburban county outside of Winston-Salem, passed a three-year ban in late September
, according to the Winston-Salem Journal
. And rural Anson County approved a five-year drilling moratorium in 2013
Lee County commissioners held a public hearing on their moratorium this month, and will hold a second hearing at 6 p.m. Monday in the county seat of Sanford, after which the board could take a vote on the resolution.
Per the county's rules, if the vote is unanimous, the resolution would be approved. If not, commissioners would hold a second vote at the board's Dec. 7 meeting. Approval at that point would only require a simple majority. It's likely to pass at some point or another, since a majority of the board's seven commissioners are supporters.
Here is the full draft resolution.
See related PDF