LETTER: Leaders have surrendered our state with energy bill

Jun. 11, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

On Wednesday morning, Gov. Pat McCrory held a ceremony on the campus of North Carolina State University to sign Senate Bill 786, the Energy Modernization Act. Instead of a ceremony, it should have been referred to as the unconditional surrender of our state's green heritage to the petrochemical industry. The governor should have been ashamed to sign a bill that is the inverse of our state's motto "Esse Quam Videri."

By allowing the petrochemical industry and its cronies to dictate the terms to the citizens of North Carolina, the governor waved the white flag and surrendered our mountains, beaches, rivers, streams, lakes and farmland to a rapacious and secretive industry, who refuse to let the public know the chemical composition of its fracking fluid and is consistently willing to avoid what we are all taught to do in kindergarten — clean up your own mess. It's as if the Dan River fiasco never occurred, and tens of thousands of citizens had not weighed in over the past four years on “fracking” — urging caution and reasonable due diligence. One can only wonder whether “Gasland” ever made the viewing list at the Governor's Mansion or the General Assembly. 

The bill was fast-tracked through the Senate and House at the beginning of short session and it allows drilling permits to be issued 60 days after the state Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) finalizes rules for the industry. Opponents of the bill, including environmental groups from around the country, said lawmakers broke their promise to review and approve the rules before a statewide suspension on drilling could be lifted, but Republican leadership used a parliamentary maneuver to halt Democratic proposals in a move allowing amendments to be killed without a recorded vote.

At the end of day, our governor and the legislators behind this law are either willing dupes for a well-funded and slick industry that can recognize a “rube” a mile away, or they gave up fighting for the people and unconditionally surrendered our mountains, beaches, farmland and waterways without a fight. Either way, these are not leaders we want with us in the “proverbial foxhole,” and they have clearly demonstrated to the people of North Carolina why change is needed in Raleigh now.

Randy Voller, Chairman

North Carolina Democratic Party