North Carolina Closer to Legalizing Fracking Because Legislator Pushed Wrong Button
Thursday, July 05, 2012
North Carolina moved a big step closer to allowing the most controversial form of natural gas drilling, thanks to the errant voting of Democratic lawmaker Becky Carney.
Republicans in the statehouse pushed through legislation that would create an Energy and Mining Commission to conduct studies and create new regulations governing natural gas production through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
But Governor Bev Purdue vetoed the legislation, claiming the underground drilling could risk clean water and public health if fracking was allowed to proceed without the proper safeguards.
So Republican lawmakers challenged Purdue and set up a vote to override the governor’s objection. GOP leaders needed a few Democrats to join them in order to have enough votes for the veto override. When the time came for the vote just before 11:30 pm Monday night, Republicans were one vote short.
Then came Carney’s blunder.
The Democrat from Charlotte had no intention of overriding the governor’s veto. But she helped do just that after she hit the wrong voting button on her desk. Instead of pushing the green button that said, “AYE,” she pressed the red one that said, “NO.”
She realized her mistake immediately and tried to change her vote, but House Speaker Thom Tillis refused to let her do so.
Once the new commission completes its work by October 2014, the legislature will have to vote again on approving its recommendations regarding fracking.
To Learn More:
How a Lawmaker's Mistaken Vote Put North Carolina on a Path Toward Fracking (by John Frank, Raleigh News & Observer)
Carney's Mistaken Vote Is Key in Fracking Override (by John Murawski, Charlotte Observer)
Perdue Vetoes Fracking Bill; GOP Accuses Governor of 'Flip-Flop' (by Dan Kane, Charlotte Observer)
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