State environmental regulators say fracking can be done safely so long as protections are in place. But more study is needed about the groundwater in places where the energy drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing might occur.
That’s the word from the study that the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources was required to conduct by a law passed last year by the General Assembly.
The report, issued this afternoon, includes numerous recommendations that should go into effect before any horizontal drilling is done.
The big recommendation is requiring companies to disclose the chemicals used in the fracking process, and make that information public except for trade secrets. The chemical content of the process has been a major concern in other states. North Carolina currently does not permit fracking.
Highlights of other recommendations include: oil and gas operators should have state-approved plans that limit the amount of water that can be withdrawn, improve current well construction standards, make sure first-responders are prepared to deal with explosions or other emergencies, and determining clear lines of regulatory authority.
The report is considered to be a draft and will be discussed in a series of public hearings. The report is available online at www.ncdenr.gov.