A city or county may not impose a franchise, privilege, license, income, or excise tax on the severing, production, treating, processing, ownership, sale, storage, purchase, marketing, or transportation on any energy minerals produced in the State, or upon the business of severing, producing, treating, processing, owning, selling, buying, storing, marketing, or transporting such energy minerals, or upon the ownership, operation, or maintenance of plants, facilities, machinery, pipelines, and gathering lines related to the severing, production, treating, processing, ownership, storage, sale, purchase, marketing, or transportation of energy minerals.
I won't go as far as to call this an omnibus, but there are enough changes from the previous versions that it should be discussed in-depth. And a little public notice might have removed the taint of deviousness.
Documents obtained by Greenpeace also reveal that the shale industry was close with one commissioner in particular: George Howard, the pro-fracking conservationist.
George Howard serves as vice chairman of the MEC, and as the chairman of the chemical disclosure committee, which is tasked with creating regulations for frack fluid and other fracking chemicals. He was appointed by North Carolina’s Senate President Pro-Tem Philip E. Berger to serve in one of two “conservation” slots on the MEC. Berger received $46,700 in campaign contributions from fracking interests between 2009 and 2011.
I really wish Phil Berger had decided to run for the US Senate. His corruption of the MEC by placing Howard in the "Conservationist" slot and all of the industry meddling that followed that appointment would have made for some exceptionally juicy campaign ads:
At least three members of the 14-member board met privately with representatives of energy giant Halliburton and other companies that sell the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, according to interviews conducted by The Associated Press.
The commission initially proposed rules last year to require some limited disclosure of the chemicals. That proposal was pulled from board's May 2013 agenda at the last minute by commission chairman Jim Womack, who said he didn't feel the rules were ready. In an interview with AP, he acknowledged that before deciding to delay the vote, he spoke with a senior Halliburton executive. "They indicated to me in a phone conversation that there may be other options than what was written in that rule," Womack said.
It's called Ex Parte communications, where entities trying to influence a decision-making body meet with only part of said body, in an effort to sway that person's opinion in the absence of prying eyes and ears. And since they're not conducting this in a formal Commission setting, those pesky public records laws don't come into play, either. It also confirms that Jim Womack's ego is a lot bigger than his ethical foundation, another aspect lobbyists thrive on:
Gov. Pat McCrory wants the state to get into the fracking business by allowing drilling test wells for natural gas on public lands to help determine North Carolina’s potential as an energy producer. On shale gas — mined by injecting water, sand and chemicals into the ground to free gas deposits — McCrory said the state needs to step in itself. He said the state owns land in “three or four counties that we think are really good possibilities for natural gas exploration.”
Asked by CBJ reporter Erik Spanberg about the state’s response to the massive coal-ash spill from a Duke Energy plant into the Dan River, McCrory defended the state’s action. “I don’t know any state that has done more about coal ash than North Carolina,” he said. But he decried what he called the “politicization” of the coal-ash spill. Some groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads in the Raleigh television market on what he considered to be campaign ads against his administration.
That's because your administration has acted irresponsibly on several fronts, from the disembowelment and "politicization" of DENR to using deceptive legal tactics to protect Duke Energy's profits. Your administration has become one of the most dangerous entities in the state for our environment and health, and you can expect a hell of a lot more pushback in the future.
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