RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina House lawmakers have legalized the controversial natural gas extraction method of hydraulic fracturing in the state, due to a deciding vote one Democrat says was a mistake.
State Representative Becky Carney says she pushed the wrong button Tuesday, effectively overriding the governor’s veto of a bill to legalize fracking.
Instead of pushing the red button to vote no, she pressed the green button, providing enough votes to lift the ban on natural gas drilling. According to state code, votes cannot be corrected or changed if they will change the outcome of a decision.
“I made a mistake and I tried to get recognized to change it as people have been doing all night on other bills and it was too late because it changed the outcome of the vote,” Carney told WRAL.
Carney says she had spent the day lobbying other Democrats to uphold the veto, but it was late and she simply pushed the wrong button.
The House minority leader used a procedural move to ensure the veto override couldn’t be reconsidered. Since the Senate had overridden the veto on Monday, the measure is now law.
With hydraulic fracturing machines dig down deep into the earth, and then use powerful water streams to dislodge natural gas samples from deep within the earth. Proponents say it could find an energy solution, lower costs and create jobs.
Opponents say the process is dangerous, can pollute drinking water and, some claim, even trigger earthquakes.