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Senate moves forward with energy exploration measure

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The North Carolina Senate is pushing ahead
with the idea of allowing energy exploration off the state's coast.

The Senate voted 38-12 on Tuesday to back a measure supporters
say would help the state cash in on energy royalties and possibly
create thousands of long-term jobs. The bill urges Democratic Gov.
Bev Perdue to form a compact with Virginia and South Carolina
to increase the states' ability to collect royalties energy
companies pay for the right to explore and later drill.

The bill also directs state environmental regulators to report
next year on the commercial potential of underground gas deposits
in central North Carolina. A Duke University study released this
week found that the method used to extract such natural gas appears
to contaminate groundwater wells with methane.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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