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Morning Memo: Fracking, casinos, wood pellets and Bev Perdue

Landowners could be forced to give up control of the natural gas under their land and sell it to energy companies whether they want to or not.

Known as forced pooling, the once-obscure practice is about to be put to a major test as the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission grapples with creating fracking regulations to protect the public and safeguard the environmnet.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. There's a lot going on today; read about it below. ***

Estate tax repeal wins approval of House panel

North Carolina is moving to eliminate its estate tax under legislation that won approval along party lines in a House committee Wednesday.

Republican state Rep. Edgar Starnes, the House GOP leader, said the state tax on the value of estates upon death is "an economic policy that just punishes people because they are trying to save things." But Democrats countered that it only applies to the most wealthy and provides needed revenue for state programs.

The state tax applies to estates with a value over $5.25 million or $10.5 million for a married couple. The rate starts at 0.8 percent and increases to 16 percent for the largest estates.

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