As per SB 786, which passed in 2014, regulations developed by the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) to govern natural gas development through hydraulic fracturing go into effect today, ending North Carolina’s moratorium on fracking permits. The door is now open for oil and gas companies to bring permit applications to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the MEC.However, inadequacies exist in numerous areas of the rules. Any effective regulatory structure for fracking must be both comprehensive and effective. As any farmer knows, an effective fence must be “horse high, pig tight and bull strong.” As with a pasture fence, gaps or weak areas of a regulatory framework negate the effectiveness of strong areas. While RAFI thanks the MEC for the strong provisions within the rule set, the gaps and weaknesses negate the strengths. Landowner rights, public health, and environmental protection must be a prerequisite for fracking in North Carolina. The current regulatory structure fails to meet this prerequisite. The inadequacies within the MEC rules highlight the irresponsible decision-making that led the NC General Assembly to pre-approve MEC rules in 2014. Members of the NCGA who voted to pre-approve MEC rules abdicated their responsibility to constituents by choosing to approve rules without complete information. NCGA members should reinstate the moratorium on permitting until the MEC closes gaps within natural gas development rules.
In the days following the storm, getting assistance will require being very organized at a time when your life is chaotic. We have seen over and over in many disaster situations that being able to access assistance often makes the difference between farms surviving or not. Below are steps you can take to prepare before and after Florence and a list of disaster recovery resources.
Please know that when the storm has passed, there are many of us and partners across the country ready to assist. Farmers, please call us with any questions at 919-542-1396 and press #1 for the farmer hotline or reach the hotline directly toll-free at 866-586-6746.
We were honored to host Farm Aid in our own backyard here in North Carolina for this year’s concert. By all accounts, Farm Aid 2014 was a smashing success, with a sold-out show, amazing performances, and important dialogues with farmers and agricultural organizations from across the country. We’re looking forward to building on the momentum created by the concert and we will be sharing more of our reflections on the events of the past week and plans for the future very soon. In the meantime, we’re excited to share some of the fantastic press and media coverage of Farm Aid 2014.