LETTER: N.C. DENR leader explains decision

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to your Oct. 2 letter “Why did DENR reject grant money?” that questioned why the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declined a federal grant that would have conducted baseline testing in the region of the state where hydraulic fracturing is likely to occur.

Simply put, the department decided we did not need this federal grant because the baseline sampling can be performed by DENR staff for less money and with greater emphasis on protection of peoples’ health and the environment.

The EPA grant would have started sampling in early 2014 — too soon, assuming you want to establish a baseline prior to hydraulic fracturing. It would have sampled wetlands and streams chosen more or less at random — but by waiting until leasing units are known, we can target the samples close to where hydraulic fracturing will occur. It would have sampled only surface water — we need both surface and groundwater sampling to accurately tell us if drilling is harming the water supply. And lastly, it would do all this without any coordination with the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission, the N.C. Division of Energy, Mining and Land Resources, or the General Assembly.

DENR’s refusal of the grant will allow the state of North Carolina to conduct baseline water quality testing in the right way, at the right places, with the right agencies involved.

John E. Skvarla

Secretary

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources