RALEIGH - State environmental officials have scheduled two public meetings for March to discuss the as-yet unwritten draft report that will conclude a legislatively mandated study of the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of shale gas exploration and development in North Carolina.
Session Law 2011-276 directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to study the issue of oil and gas exploration in the state and to specifically focus on the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas. DENR staff is currently in the midst of this study, and once the study is complete will put together a draft report to detail their findings.
The draft report will be made available on DENR’s website in early March, and findings from the report will be presented first in a public meeting to be held at the Wicker Center in Sanford on March 20, 2012, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. The second public meeting has been scheduled for March 27, 2012, and will take place in the auditorium of East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. The same information will be presented at both meetings, and public comments will be accepted at both meetings as well as via mail and email.
More detailed information about the meetings will be provided at a date closer to when the meetings will take place. To learn more about the shale gas issue and the legislative study, an NCDENR website provides an overview of the issue; describes current regulations associated with shale gas exploration; explains how the department is studying the issue (and will provide study results when complete); guides the public in how to receive updates on the study, and will provide information on how to comment on the draft report once it is available. This website can be found by visiting DENR’s home page – www.ncdenr.gov – and clicking on the “Shale Gas” tab near the center of the page.