Fracking study group to meet in Sanford

Jan. 15, 2013 @ 05:03 PM

A study group of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Sanford to examine local governments’ regulation of oil and gas exploration and development in North Carolina.

The Local Government Regulation Study Group will meet from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Lee County Emergency Operations Facility at 204 West Courtland Drive in Sanford. The meeting is open to the public.

The study group is a part of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission, which is required by state law to develop a regulatory program to manage oil and gas exploration and development activities in North Carolina.

The study group is required to make recommendations to the full N.C. Mining and Energy Commission on local government regulations for oil and gas exploration and development, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The commission is responsible for producing recommendations that allow for “reasonable local regulations” such as setback requirements and noise restrictions that don’t prohibit oil and gas exploration and development activities.

The study group is working with the N. C. League of Municipalities, N.C. School of Government, the John Locke Foundation, development consultants, environmental permitting and law consultants, and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners to produce recommendations on local government regulation of oil and gas exploration.

Topics scheduled for discussion Wednesday include local government regulations in other states and the impacts of oil and gas exploration and development on roads and other infrastructure.

The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission is required to report its findings and recommendations, including legislative proposals, to the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy and the Environmental Review Commission by Oct. 1.

To learn more about the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission, go to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ website devoted to the topic, http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mining-and-energy-commission/home. The site includes a schedule of upcoming meetings.