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NC House approves fracking bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The North Carolina House has approved a form of natural gas drilling critics say will contaminate groundwater.

The drilling method known as fracking was endorsed by a 66 to 43 vote in the House on Thursday evening. The measure has sped through the Legislature in less than two weeks, and the bill now returns to the Senate for consideration of minor amendments.

The hydraulic fracturing drilling method involves injected a drilled well with chemicals, water and sand at high speed to break up shale rock deep underground and free trapped natural gas. Environmentalists worry the drilling has not been thoroughly studied and could lead to groundwater contamination, earthquakes and flammable drinking water. Supporters say the bill will help the state harvest domestic energy and create new jobs.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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