The Scotland County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council will sponsor a free seminar on fracking on Aug. 13.
The seminar will be presented by Ted Feitshans, a lawyer and associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at NC State University. He is also and a specialist with N.C. Cooperative Extension.
The fracking event is planned for noon at the Cooperative Extension office at 231 East Cronly Street. Attendees are asked to bring a bag lunch. Beverages and dessert will be provided.
The General Assembly recently lifted the ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and opened the door to shale gas exploration in that state.
The legislation — over a veto by Gov Bev Perdue — reconstituted the Mining Commission as the Mining and Energy Commission. The commission are charged with the task of developing “a modern regulatory program for the management of oil and gas exploration and development.
Fracking involves pumping chemical-treated water and sand under enormous pressure into wells deep underground to help release gas from shale formations.
The technique uses large amounts of water and can lead to groundwater contamination, chemical spills and disturbance of large areas of land, according to a 2012 state report.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the shale gas entrapped in the Deep River basin, a 150-mile long area under central North Carolina that extends to South Carolina, could supply the state’s natural gas demands for more than five years. Activities are currently centered in Lee, Chatham, and Moore counties. Less-well explored deposits are known to exist elsewhere in North Carolina.
But critics have expressed concerns that without stricter guidelines fracking may harm the environment.
“Our drinking water and the health and safety of North Carolina’s families are too important,” Perdue said after the veto. “We can’t put them in jeopardy by rushing to allow fracking without proper safeguards.”
Cooperative Extension is not taking a position on the issue.
“We’re trying to do what extension does best, which is present as unbiased picture of the situation as is humanly possible,” Feitshans said.