Saying they don’t need the money to meet their new mission, state environmental officials recently turned down almost $600,000 in federal grants. The money would have been used to set up a network of sites to begin testing streams in the Piedmont where natural gas production is likely to occur and to establish a long-term planning and monitoring program to protect wetlands.
It’s the first time a state in EPA's Southeast region has refused a grant since the program started in 1996, an agency spokesperson in Atlanta said. North Carolina could be the only state in the country to ever decline the grants.
Collecting and analyzing baseline water quality data in areas that are likely to be fracked is one of the top priorities recommended by scientists from Duke University, who recently conducted an in-depth study of contaminated wells in Pennsylvania. Without that pre-fracking baseline, it's more difficult to differentiate between new contamination from human activities and possible naturally-occurring phenomenon. Which could explain why this money was refused; to give the frackers an "out" when our wells start going bad, like they have everywhere else. And there's always this:
The state’s Compulsory Pooling Study Group is set to debate forced pooling Wednesday in Raleigh with the intent of making recommendations to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The study group’s conclusions will be reported to the Mining and Energy Commission, but the commission will not hold hearings on it or take a vote. Wednesday’s discussion by the study group is likely to be the last public discussion of the issue before it gets to the legislature, said the group’s chairman Ray Covington, who is also a Mining and Energy commissioner.
And he's also got a lot of land he wants fracked, his own and that of his clientele:
The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory is pushing a proposed tax on fracking as a substantial piece of its economic recovery strategy, with key Republicans saying it would raise millions for financial incentives to recruit companies or help them expand in North Carolina. Decker told the group she wants a similar piggy bank here and that “energy partners” are ready to “provide us with the money” in a climate where increasing traditional funding streams for incentives, such as income and corporate taxes, isn’t likely. She said the money would be used to lure major projects to the state.
It will be interesting to see how John Hood and his followers try to spin this one. And it will be a minefield, as there are numerous JLF/Civitas articles railing against targeted taxes and incentives. Should be fun. Speaking of having fun, read this and see if you don't bark a laugh:
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