by: The Associated Press Updated:
SANFORD, N.C. - Police and highway patrol had to step in to provide security Friday for a public hearing in Sanford on fracking.
The extra security was called in after a meeting earlier this week got heated.
The crowd was passionate but did not get out of hand.
Anson County is one of 14 counties in the state where fracking could occur and residents there are worried about fracking's impact on public health.
Rules were quickly laid out for the hundreds of attendees who came to sound off about fracking in North Carolina, where a three-person panel said it would hear public comments but would not have any answers Friday night.
Supporters and critics had three minutes each to state their case about the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock deep within the earth.
Some quickly expressed distrust of the entire process and the Mining and Energy Commission and one Lee County commissioner were charged with setting fracking rules.
“I'm asking that James Womack resign from MEC and not be allowed on any environmental group again,” said Ed Harris of FrackFreeNC.
Many pointed out concerns about property rights, toxic waste and health and environmental risks.
"Every year, fracking generates hundreds of billions of gallons of waste water laced with corrosive salts, radioactive materials and many chemicals,” said Denise Lee of Anson County.
The panel promised to take every comment into consideration before making final recommendations in a report to be released this fall.
“We're going to see that this natural gas really is a blessing to North Carolina,” said Mildred Smith of Lee County.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law in June that puts drilling permits on the fast track.
McCrory predicts fracking could generate close to 500 jobs and $80 million each year for the state but a group in Anson County told Channel 9 it’s considering suing the state to stop fracking.
Mining and Energy Commission website, click here.
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