North Carolina Rep Pushes Wrong Button and Approves Fracking in the State | Smart News | Smithsonian
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North Carolina Rep Pushes Wrong Button and Approves Fracking in the State

Fracking can go ahead in North Carolina, all because one tired legislator pushed the wrong button.

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Careful what button you push. Photo: Flickr user Daniel Y. Go

North Carolina’s legislature has been battling with the state’s governor over a bill that would lift the state’s ban on fracking for natural gas. The governor had already vetoed a bill lifting the ban, and on Monday the state’s General Assembly was voting to override the veto. It hinged on one vote, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

Rep. Becky Carney, a five-term Democrat from Charlotte, burst into tears after mistakenly voting with Republicans to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the contentious legislation. The measure lifts the ban on hydraulic fracturing as a means for mining for natural gas.

Ms. Carney and other Democrats asked for a do-over, as is common when a member pushes the wrong button. But in this instance, Republicans said no. A change in Carney’s vote would have changed the outcome, which is against the House rules. But Ms. Carney asked for the rules to be suspended so she could change her vote, but got nowhere.

So now fracking can go ahead in North Carolina, all because one tired legislator pushed the wrong button. As the News Observer, it’s a high-risk proposition for the state:

Fracking here will likely entail greater risks to drinking water supplies and may require special measures not used in other states.

North Carolina’s natural gas reserves are much closer to groundwater than in other states, and the rock in between is not watertight and could permit potent fracking chemicals to work their way upward and contaminate the aquifers, state regulators say.

Whatever, no take-backs!

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About Sarah Laskow
Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor of Smart News. Her work has appeared in print and online for Grist, GOODSalon, The American Prospect, Newsweek, New York among other publications.

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