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NC lawmakers promise more fracking protections

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EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers are adding new protections for neighbors and landowners in a proposed law to legalize a form of underground gas drilling.

A Senate committee introduced legislation Thursday that could allow fracking in two years if needed regulations are in place by then. Fracking involves injecting a drilled well with chemicals, water and sand to crack shale rock and free trapped natural gas.

The new version says gas drillers are responsible if underground water supplies are tainted. It also sets minimum royalties and legal protections for landowners, and gives appointees to a mining commission the duty to write regulations.

Critics point out the measure also prevents local governments from keeping gas wells out of residential areas, and doesn't require drillers to carry insurance to pay for damage they cause.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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