Senate Bill 820, which would have allowed the state of North Carolina to use fracking in its efforts to drill for natural gas, was vetoed on Sunday by Democratic Governor Bev Perdue. Tellingly, it is the Governor’s third such move against legislation largely supported by Republicans in the past week.
From the Kansas City Star:
“I support energy policies that create jobs and lower costs for businesses and families,” Perdue said. “Our drinking water and the health and safety of North Carolina’s families are too important; we can’t put them in jeopardy by rushing to allow fracking without proper safeguards.”
Of course, environmental organizations immediately expressed support and hailed the move.
Fracking continues to be a controversial issue and the political rhetoric surrounding it typically breaks down along partisan lines. It is true that fracking has been good to states possessing ample natural gas resources, but concerns linger over the hazards it imposes upon the environment. Last year, the U.K. government stepped in to put an end to fracking operations in one area after it was linked up to increasing earthquake frequency in the region, though the issue remains far from resolved. In the U.S., Republicans point to fracking’s economic benefits and insist that it is safe, while Democrats urge caution and restraint.
In case of a veto, this bill required the House and Senate to work toward an override with at least a three-fifths majority–in other words, a minimum of 72 and 30 votes each. That did not happen, so the veto will stand.