• NC General Assembly Authorizes Hydraulic Fracturing
  • July 2, 2012 | Authors: Craig A. Bromby; Charles D. Case; Matthew F. Hanchey
  • Law Firm: Hunton & Williams LLP - Raleigh Office
  • On June 21, 2012, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act (Senate Bill 820), opening the door to hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina. The Act does not authorize hydraulic fracturing immediately but instead removes existing statutory hurdles and establishes a framework under which fracturing will be permitted in the future. Specifically, it creates the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission and directs it, along with other agencies, to establish a regulatory program for the management of oil and gas exploration and development in North Carolina and for the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to achieve development of oil and gas resources. Although portions of the act become effective immediately, it is impossible to predict when legalized hydraulic fracturing will begin in North Carolina; the Mining and Energy Commission is directed to complete rulemaking by October 1, 2014, but no permits for exploration or for hydraulic fracturing operations can be issued until the General Assembly takes further action to authorize the issuance of such permits.