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Considering shale gas extraction in North Carolina: lessons from other states

Adair SK, BR Pearson, J Monast, A Vengosh, RB Jackson
Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum
Journal Volume/Pages: 

In 2009, the North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS) announced the existence of shale gas underlying the Deep and Dan River Basins in twelve North Carolina counties, including Lee, Chatham, and Moore. Following NCGS’s initial announcement, several small companies began leasing mineral rights from landowners in Lee County, and the state legislature began to consider policy changes that would be necessary to develop the shale gas resource. To this end, on June 23, 2011, Governor Beverly Perdue signed Session Law 2011-276, which directs the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct a study and hold public hearings on the issues of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction. Unlike conventional natural gas resources, shale gas is contained in relatively impermeable source rock, which means that it does not migrate out of the source rock and into a reservoir where drillers can easily access it. Large-scale production of shale gas has only become economically viable in recent years due to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, which can dramatically increase the flow of gas.

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