Water quality hearing draws anti-fracking crowd

Jul. 01, 2014 @ 08:05 PM

A public hearing in Sanford Tuesday night on proposed new water quality regulations drew a large crowd, many of whom got up to speak about their opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

Specifically, the new rules would affect stormwater run-off rules in North Carolina. Many of the activists gathered at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center from 6-7 p.m. for the meeting said they supported the spirit of the new rules but thought the state should be even more strict.

Stormwater run-off and fracking are related because much of the state's natural gas reserves are in this area and near the banks of the Deep River. Opponents fear that heavy rains could wash chemicals and pollutants from the drilling sites into the river, and that open ponds of used and potentially toxic fracking fluid could overflow and flood the area.

The state faced a similar disaster in 1999, when rains from Hurricane Floyd overcame open "hog lagoons" full of animal waste and flooded much of the eastern part of the state with feces, urine and dead animals. One speaker directly recalled memories of that storm Tuesday, and others indirectly referenced the damage in relation to their fears of potential damage from natural gas operations.

For more details from the meeting, see Thursday's edition of The Herald.