UPDATED: Gov. Pat McCrory came to the legislative building Wednesday evening to whip votes on a newly crafted measure to lift the state's moratorium on fracking.
The fracking provision -- which would lift the moratorium July 1, 2015 -- is tucked into a proposed conference report on Senate Bill 127, a measure to reorganize the state's commerce department and privatize part of the state's job recruitment efforts.
The new measure would authorize the state to start issuing permits for shale gas exploration, a major priority for McCrory and Senate Republicans, according to a copy obtained by Dome. But it cannot do so until rules are made, bill supporters said.
Another major provision in the bill sets a low tax on companies to entice business to the state.
But House Republicans are split on the issue -- having defeated a similar proposal earlier this session. A year earlier, GOP lawmakers advanced fracking but said it wouldn't take place until the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission wrote 120-plus rules to regulate the practice. McCrory is expected to speak to House Republicans at 6 p.m. to try to convince them to approve the measure, which comes a day before lawmakers are expected to adjourn for the year.
McCrory also canceled a trip to Aspen, Colo., on Thursday where he was to appear with an all-star panel of Republican governors. A spokesman said he needed to focus on the end of the legislative session.