by Vanessa Haugh, Online Organizing Fellow, Energy Action Coalition
On Sunday, Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed Senate Bill 820, the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act, legislation that would lift a ban on fracking and allow shale gas exploration. Shale gas exploration is currently not permitted, although legislature has attempted to make it legal over the past two years. Though Governor Perdue supports fracking, she vetoed the bill because of a need for more safeguards specific to conditions in North Carolina. In her veto message she wrote, "the bill does not do enough to ensure that adequate protections for our drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and safety of our families will be in place before fracking begins." She urged the adoption of "a few changes" for stronger safeguards, which the General Assembly did not accept.
The result of an override vote in the Republican-led General Assembly is uncertain for today, since the House may not have enough votes to meet the required three-fifths majority.
Governor Perdue's office has been flooded with thousands of emails and phonecalls urging her to veto the bill. Governor Perdue acted for the health of people and the environment yesterday, but she started her veto message with a statement in support of fracking. There are no safeguards specific enough or strong enough to adequately defend against the dangers of fracking.
No fracking or shale gas exploration in North Carolina for now, but the fight continues.