A Senate committee is recommending a protocol it says the state of North Carolina should follow while legalizing a controversial form of natural gas drilling.
The Senate Commerce Committee voted yesterday in favor of the measure, which would lift a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. But state permits wouldn't occur for at least another two years while regulations are developed.
The bill would direct state agencies to devise a regulatory program to manage oil and gas exploration that ultimately would be approved by the General Assembly.
Bill Weatherspoon with the North Carolina Petroleum Council calls the bill a good "take-it-slow" approach. Several Democrats opposed to the bill say the process should go even slower because the environmental risks are so great.
The bill now goes to the full Senate.