The controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking could take its second-to-last step toward legalization in North Carolina on Friday. A state body meets at 9 a.m. to finalize the rules that will govern fracking.
The state Mining and Energy Commission has written more than 100 rules since 2012. They cover how and where drilling can occur, how state regulators will oversee the process, and what information companies must disclose.
The commission received nearly 220,000 public comments about the rules. Now, it will vote on changes based on those comments—mostly minor clarifications and wording tweaks. A few rule changes will grant regulators more power to inspect operations, stop work at those with problems, and require the state to permanently hold onto all records from companies.
Two areas could be contentious: a rule allowing companies to store wastewater in open pits has drawn fire from some commissioners, as has the distance fracking can take place from drinking water supplies.
Once finalized, the rules will need to receive one final vote from state lawmakers, before fracking is legal.
Most drillable gas is believed to be in central North Carolina, stretching from Durham to Anson counties.