Fracking opponents are continuing to apply pressure on Gov. Bev Perdue to veto legislation intended to create a natural gas production industry in the state.
The Sierra Club and Clean Water for North Carolina delivered 77 signatures to the governor last week, releasing the letters today. Forty-four are local business owners and 33 are elected officials.
"Shale gas development offers little prospect of real economic gain here," the business petition states. It's signed by owners of Asheville Geothermal, Southern Energy Management of Morrisville, Sage Cafe of Chapel Hill, Merge Records of Durham, Carolina Gymnastics Academy of Wilmington, Invest for Change of Raleigh, Jordan Lake School of the Arts in Apex, Legacy Paddle Sports in Greensboro, Bish Enterprises in Siler City and Raleigh Cary Realty, among others.
The letter from elected officials say the fracking legislation is flawed because it does not explicitly grant local officials power to ban fracking in their towns and counties. It contains representatives from Butner, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Creedmoor, Durham, Pittsboro, Raleigh as well as Chatham, Durham and Orange counties.
The legislation passed the state legislature last week, with a final vote in the N.C. Senate. It authorizes a Mining and Energy Commission to create new regulations to govern extracting natural gas from shale rock formations through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
The governor's office has received thousands of emails and phone calls on the issue in recent months, mostly against. About 10,000 emails have come in "overwhelmingly opposed" to the bill, said Perdue spokesman Mark Johnson. The governor has received 3,779 calls against and 36 calls in favor of the bill, he said.
The legislation is supported by the N.C. Chamber, the state's business lobby, by the N.C. branch of the American Petroleum Institute, and by a range of local business officials and elected officials who testified in favor of the bill.
Gov. Perdue has until midnight Sunday to decide.
The lame duck Democrat has expressed support for fracking in the past, provided it's done safely, but has remained conspicuously silent on the legislation that many Democrats oppose.