New land chief, NC state geologist named

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A career employee in North Carolina's geology and mining office is the new leader of a state division whose responsibilities now include helping to create rules for a form of natural gas exploration.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says engineer Tracy Davis began his duties Friday as director of the state Division of Land Resources. He succeeds Jim Simons, who retired. The department also said Kenneth Taylor is now designated the state geologist. He is chief of the North Carolina Geological Survey.

A new law approved by the Legislature directs the division and survey to provide staff for the reformulated North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. The panel is tasked with creating regulations for the drilling and production of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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