Saturday, February 22, 2014

Keeping Fracking Out of North Carolina

One of my hens after molting.If fracking comes here, no more hens.

This blog is dedicated to my friends in Lee and Chatham County whose lives are threatened by fracking should it come here.


I’ve been thinking lately about two things: how, when, in the past, people told me that what I wanted to do couldn’t be done, and how I did them anyway.  I seldom failed.  Several folks lately have told me that there is no way we can stop the fracking coming to North Carolina.  I do think we can stop it.  Not easily.  Yet I believe that the fracking is all wrong: ruins our human environment so we can’t breathe good air, have clean water, grow food out of the earth.  It makes us sick.  We have so many ways to provide ourselves with energy without fracking: wind, water, sun.  If we work and fight and do all we can, we can prevail.  Let’s believe in a future we can make possible.  
The second thought is about how we have choices. Yes, we do. I found a lovely quote about this in Louise Penny’s Still Life: Her character Myrna says (p. 140, in the paperback edition):

“Life is change.  If you aren’t growing and evolving, you’re standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead.  Most of these people are very immature.  They lead ‘still lives, waiting.’

“Waiting for someone to save them.  Expecting someone to save them or at least protect them from the big, bad world.  The thing is no one else can save them because the problem is theirs and so is the solution. Only they can get out of it.... Ultimately, it’s us and our choices.  But the most powerful, spectacular thing is that the solution rests with us as well.  We’re the only ones who can change our lives, turn them around....”


I wrote these lines in a poem not long ago, and I believe them to be true:

We have to believe in 
the future in order to ward it off 
when the sky darkens and omens 
fall all around us.  Only the patient
serenity of our spirits, allowing each
day’s exuberance, will do it, will keep
us upright, well-balanced, firmly 
rooted in the miracle of present time.
–A Thread of Light V.


If fracking comes, no more lively beets, peas, onions in my garden.


Where to begin?  Here is one place I’m working.  Doesn’t it make sense?  This is only the beginning, but simply reading it gives me hope.  Anson County in North Carolina passed a moratorium which I’ve used as my model here. Judy Hogan

Draft of a Moratorium to Keep Fracking Out of Chatham
“Whereas, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners finds that the extraction of natural gas in Chatham County’s rural and agricultural environment poses a significant threat to the health, safety, and welfare of residents, neighborhoods, and natural features; and

“Whereas, the Board finds that significant environmental, community, and human health impacts have resulted from commercial natural gas development in other states; and
“Whereas, the Board finds that the State’s authorization of natural gas development automatically means allowing such activities to occur within Chatham County, thus allowing for the deposition of toxins into the air, soil, water, environment, and bodies of residents within our County; and

“Whereas, the Board finds that existing State laws and regulations do not adequately protect the health and welfare of our County’s residents by not addressing natural gas development locality-specific effects on the unique natural, geologic, demographic, financial, and other conditions that exist within County boundaries; and

“Whereas, the Board finds the North Carolina General Assembly and the Mining and Energy Commission are moving too fast toward enabling hydraulic fracturing to occur in North Carolina before adequate regulatory protections are established; and

“Whereas, the board finds that natural gas development is a conditional use, and Whereas, Chatham County is primarily rural and agricultural in nature, with the majority of residents living in rural areas, and

“Whereas Chatham County’s income is dependent on a healthy agricultural industry, with over _______ billion (?) in agricultural income earned last year according to North Carolina Cooperative Extension; and

“Whereas, Chatham County is home to Jordan Lake, a state wildlife refuge; and Whereas, the Jordan Lake State Park and Wildlife Refuge provides critical habitat for ____ birds, —amphibian and reptile, _____mammal, and ___ fish species, including migratory waterfowl, migratory song birds, and threatened and endangered species; and

“Whereas, Jordan Lake provides recreation and environmental education for more than a million visitors annually; and

“Whereas, over two million residents of Chatham, Durham, and Wake Counties depend on the public water supply sourced from Jordan lake; and

“Whereas, the Haw and other (which ones?) rivers and streams are a likely water resource from which natural gas operations would draw millions of gallons of water to use for natural gas development; and

“Whereas, the State of North Carolina and Chatham County have experienced drought within recent years and cannot afford to endanger already limited water resources; and

“Whereas, according to the United States Geological Survey, approximately 2.7 million North Carolinians depend upon well water for their water supply; and

“Whereas, approximately _______ Chatham County residents depend upon well water for private water supply; and

“Whereas, while private wells are not subject to inspection, citizens using privately supplied drinking water are at greater risk of drinking contaminated water; and

“Whereas, the Board recognizes that all residents, natural communities, and ecosystems in Chatham County possess a fundamental and inalienable right to clean, drinkable and usable water that will sustain health and life; and

“Whereas, the Board finds that North Carolina’s unique geography and minimal separation between shale formation and groundwater supplies puts well water users disproportionately at risk of groundwater supply contamination; and

“Whereas, local governments will incur increased costs for services such as regulatory compliance monitoring, emergency services, maintenance of roads and bridges, and increased policing and other social services; and

“Whereas, the Board believes it appropriate for natural gas owners and operators to pay for these additional services that the County will have to provide to protect the health and welfare of its citizens;

“Therefore, the Board hereby adopts this Moratorium, which temporarily prohibits natural gas development activities, including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, from occurring within Chatham County while ordinances are developed, enacted and implemented to protect the rights of Chatham County Residents and the natural resources we enjoy.”


1 comment:

  1. A few years ago with the weather warming up here in the north, we were on track to be in zone 6 rather than zone 5. Thank goodness I didn't buy any zone 6 perennials or shrubs at the nursery because this has been the coldest winter for the longest period of time that I can remember. I use mulch to keep the soil moist around my plants and I compost, too. I often wonder why the dry west insists on growing crops that use a lot of water that they don't have. I'm not talking about California which didn't use to be so dry - at least not in the central and northern part. I also don't understand the people who deny there is climate change.