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Report Details “Fracking” Costs: Warns NC Local Governments Could Pay Tab

September 20, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - What are the costs of fracking? A new report out today on the controversial natural gas drilling process puts the estimate at millions of dollars.

Elizabeth Ouzts, state director of Environment North Carolina, says the organization's report details a wide variety of fracking costs, ranging from the $265 million that Pennsylvania expects to lay out to fix roads to the $730,000 it cost to cap just three shale wells in one incident.

"We've always known that fracking poses threats to our water, to our air quality. This study really documents the actual, heavy, dollars-and-cents costs posed by fracking."

North Carolina currently has a moratorium in place that bans fracking while a state commission works to establish rules that could allow the gas drilling process to go forward. Supporters of fracking say lifting the ban will bring jobs to the state. Ouzts hopes the new report will convince lawmakers the ban needs to stay in place.

In Granville County, Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss says if fracking gets approval in North Carolina and comes to his part of the state, his volunteer fire department is going to have to be able to handle a whole new variety of environmental incidents.

"In terms of trying to figure out how to get them the equipment they need in order to respond to an environment they don't have to respond to today - we are looking at millions of dollars just on that piece of it alone."

To date, Ouzts says 10 municipalities have gone on record saying they want the fracking ban to stay in place - and for good reason, she says.

"Far too often the dollars-and-cents costs of fracking are borne at the local level - from drinking water contamination and the costs of replacing drinking water, to road repairs."

The report will be released at 10 a.m. across from the Raleigh Municipal Building in Nash Square. Then it will be available at www.environmentNorthCarolina.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NC