Senate bill seeks NC fracking permits next year

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The effort to get the exploration of natural gas in North Carolina using a process called fracking started next year is moving ahead at the legislature.

The State Senate scheduled debate Wednesday on how rules being developed by a commission to regulate hydraulic fracturing will be handled by the General Assembly once they’re finalized by year’s end. The bill says the first permits could be issued starting in July 2015.

The measure also lays out rates for state taxes on natural gas, oil and other energy sources that are unearthed.

The legislature directed the commission in 2012 to develop the rules. Republicans backing the new bill that cleared Senate committees Tuesday say it’s time get the industry working in North Carolina. Critics say bill promoters are moving too quickly.

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