Today, officials from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) released changes made to the outline for a study of the potential environmental and economic impacts of shale gas exploration and development in North Carolina based on public comments received in the fall of 2011.
Changes made included:
• Adding a section specifically dealing with recommendations to the study, to address comments received that the study should add a consideration of whether or not hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, should be permitted under state law. This section will also include recommendations for baseline data collection and any further research necessary;
• Adding subsections on potential public health impacts in various sections of the study;
• Adding a section on the potential impacts to the existing local economy (for instance, agriculture and tourism) based on public comments;
• Expanding the section on stormwater management to include potential impacts of oil and gas production to surface waters;
• Expanding the air quality section to examine flaring and greenhouse gas emissions; and
• Adding a section on potential impacts to North Carolina energy consumers.
The NCDENR shale gas webpage provides an overview of shale gas; describes current regulations associated with shale gas exploration; explains how the department will study the issue (and provide study results when complete); and guides the public in how to receive updates on the study, as well as how to provide comment on the issue.