Earlier this summer, the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) completed the drafting of hydraulic fracturing rules. It is critical that MEC members hear from landowners and other North Carolinians with their thoughts and comments on the draft rules. Comments will be accepted between July 15 and September 15, 2014. With the passage of SB786 during the 2014 legislative session, the General Assembly gave its legislative stamp of approval for these rules to become law after they are finalized. This comment period is the only opportunity you will have to weigh in on the rules. The General Assembly is unlikely to reconsider these rules once they are finalized. The draft rules address those issues mandated by the legislature but fail to address critical landowner issues. As a result, the draft rules do not adequately protect the rights of landowners. The more than 120 rules were developed to govern the fracking process and cover everything from the permitting process to land reclamation. The rules are divided into 14 sections. Public comments will be organized based on the rule section. In addition to these 14 rule sections, the MEC is also accepting “general comments.” ( A copy of the rules can be found here.) The draft rules, as currently written: 1) Do not protect landowners from forced pooling. 2) Do not provide adequate setbacks from schools, hospitals, and private homes. 3) Fail to require a variety of basic landowner protections including mandatory surface use agreements. It’s essential that landowners make their deep concerns heard during this public comment period and request that the MEC draft additional rules that will fill these gaps in landowner protections. Where to Submit a Public Comment: You can submit your comment(s) online, via postal mail or in person by attending a public hearing as follows: 1) Online – Email comments may be sent to the MEC online through the DENR public comment portal. You can access the DENR comment website here: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mining-and-energy-commission/public-comment-meetings (Note: It is important that your comment(s) pertain to a specific section of the rules. After clicking on a rule section, an email link will open that allows you to send your comment directly to the MEC. You may submit comments on more than one section.) 2) Via Mail – Written comments on the draft rules will also be accepted and can be submitted via mail. Comments may be mailed to the following address:Oil and Gas Program DENR-Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612 3) In Person – In addition to accepting public comments online, the MEC will be holding 3 public hearings during the month of August where members of the public may personally submit their comment on the proposed rules. Schedule of Public Hearings: 1) NCSU’s McKimmon Center 1101 Gorman St, Raleigh, NC 27606 Date: August 20, 2014, 10am – 2pm 2) Wicker Civic Center 1801 Nash St, Sanford, NC 27330 Date: August 22, 2014, 5pm-9pm 3) Rocking County High 180 High School Rd, Reidsville, NC 27320 Date: August 25, 2014, 5pm-9pm 4) John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, 199 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee, NC Date: September 12, 2014, Time: 5pm-9pm How to Write Public Comment(s): You can submit a general comment on the draft rules. You may also submit comments specific to each section and/or rule. Comments should be unique and provide specifics about potential impact on you, your family, and your land. Sample comments have been provided as a reference on the RAFI website here:http://rafiusa.org/issues/landowner-rights-and-fracking/rules/. Please use these sample comments as a guide only. Do not copy these comments and submit them as your own. Unique, individualized comments are important. If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected] or 919-542-1396 ext. 209.
Research & Policy Associate RAFI-USAP.S. Thank you for your tireless efforts to protect North Carolina from the worst impacts of fracking. The next two months could be the most important in this process. Please come to a public hearing, submit comments, and tell your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!