How political winds change.
Five years ago, hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, was a godsend in recession-ravaged locales like Lee County. Yet on Monday, one election and a tidal wave of bad publicity later, two counties in the heart of North Carolina's prospective drilling basins are moving to at least temporarily ban drilling within their borders.
WFMY is reporting
in Rockingham County, part of the Dan River Basin, that county commissioners unanimously approved a two-year fracking moratorium Monday. And in Lee County, a potential hotbed for drilling south of the Triangle in the Deep River Basin, commissioners took the first step in approving their own two-year ban Monday night.
Because Monday's vote by the Lee commissioners was not unanimous, two commissioners voted "nay," the moratorium will require a second reading at the board's Dec. 7 meeting. Expect approval of the moratorium, which stated that permitting "without thorough study would be premature and could result in standards that are inadequate to regulate or mitigate the local impacts."
Lee and Rockingham are following a number of other counties and municipalities that have taken action to attempt to delay drilling. State law forbids outright bans on fracking, but temporary moratoriums would, conceivably, be allowed.
Chatham County commissioners voted in a two-year moratorium in August
, and Stokes County, also in the Dan River Basin, followed with its own three-year ban in September.