A chorus of 50 protesters chanting slogans and banging drums provided a soundtrack for this evening's legislative session in Raleigh.
Authorities escorted lawmakers through the so-far peaceful crowd that came to protest Senate Bill 709, the Energy Jobs Act, which would pave a way for offshore oil drilling and shale gas extraction through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Republicans leaders pledged not to hold an override vote on the bill -- which Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed earlier this year -- but some in the crowd were skeptical.
"They've said things (like that) before and we want them to know how we feel right now," said Ruth Zalph, 81, of Chapel Hill.
Zalph slung a drum over her shoulder and marched around the legislative building chanting, "Toxic water, toxic air; we get sick and they don't care."
The bill would not allow fracking but even a study of the practice worried the environmentalists. "We have seen in other states what happened with fracking," Zalph said. "Why study what we already know. It's a waste of time."