Tar Heel State Supports Hydraulic Fracturing

A new poll out of North Carolina shows widespread support for hydraulic fracturing and increased energy development among voters throughout the state. The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API), found 79 percent net support for increased production of domestic oil and natural gas, along with 60 percent net support for hydraulic fracturing. In fact, one third of voters in the Tar Heel State – 33 percent – say they “strongly support” hydraulic fracturing.

Most of the energy potential in North Carolina’s shale deposits is in the form of clean-burning natural gas. That means the state could also soon contribute to the development of an energy source that’s helping the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health by lowering air pollution. No wonder 65 percent of Americans want more emphasis on producing this abundant, clean, domestic resource.

But it’s not just about environmental benefits; it’s also about boosting North Carolina’s economy. According to NGI’s Shale Daily (subs. req’d):

“North Carolina voters recognize that the U.S. has the opportunity to develop its own abundant supply of oil and natural gas for future energy needs,” said Bill Weatherspoon, executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council, an API division. “As a coastal state with both offshore potential and shale natural gas reserves, producing oil and natural gas in North Carolina has a long list of benefits, including tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in additional revenue to the state.”

Indeed, these are jobs and new revenue for a state in need of both. Over the past decade, North Carolina has struggled to post an unemployment rate that’s below the national average. North Carolina’s current unemployment rate stands at 9.4 percent, 1.7 percent above the national average, and the 47th highest in the United States. Who ranks first with the lowest rate? North Dakota – a state that just so happens to be in the midst of an energy revolution, thanks to hydraulic fracturing and the Bakken Shale.

Perhaps that’s why North Carolina voters say that tapping their state’s energy potential is one way to get the state back to work.  According to the findings, a large majority of  respondents feel increased domestic oil and gas development would strengthen our national energy security (91 percent), lead to more jobs (93 percent), lower energy costs for consumers (85 percent), and stimulate our economy (91 percent).  Luckily, hydraulic fracturing and shale are providing these benefits in states across the nation where shale development is already occurring. And North Carolina just might be next, assuming lawmakers in Raleigh adhere to a novel concept: listening to what their constituents want.

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