North Carolina's new Mining and Energy Commission, created by state legislation this summer, will hold its first orientation meeting on Sept. 6.
The 12-member panel reforms the old state mining commission. It's charged with working with state staff to develop rules on oil and gas exploration, particularly the previously prohibited techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimated this summer that N.C. shale formations, the deposits that fracking taps, holds gas that could supply the state for 5.6 years at 2010 usage rates. Earlier estimates had cited up to a 40-year supply.
A state study earlier this year concluded that fracking could be safe if properly regulated. That critical task will be overseen by a commission that, per the legislation that created it, is tilted toward mining and oil-and-gas professionals. Gov. Bev Perdue, House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, made the appointments:
Raymond Covington, a Guilford County real estate professional who also's part of a concern that negotiates oil and gas leases for property owners. (Tillis)
Charles Taylor, a council member in Sanford, part of the Triassic Basin in which most shale deposits are found. (Tillis)
William McNeely III, a sand-and-gravel miner in the mountains of Transylvania County. (Tillis)
Charles Holbrook, a former Chevron geologist who lives in Moore County. (Tillis)
George Howard, president of a Raleigh firm that restores waterways and a member of Triangle Land Conservancy. (Berger)
James Womack, a county commissioner in Lee County, also in the Triassic Basin. (Berger)
Ivan "Tex" Gilmore, a former longtime PCS Phosphate geologist in Beaufort County. (Berger)
Vikram Rao, executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium. (Berger)
Jane Lewis-Raymond, general counsel of Piedmont Natural Gas in Charlotte. (Perdue)
Charlotte Mitchell, a Raleigh environmental lawyer and member of Triangle Land Conservancy. (Perdue)
Amy Pickle, a Raleigh attorney at Duke's Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions and a member of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission. (Perdue)
Marva Price, an associate professor at Duke's School of Nursing and a member of the N.C. Public Health Commission. (Perdue)