Back in July, our colleague at the Charlotte Observer, Burce Henderson, outlined how a natural gas "boomlet" was under way in North Carolina.
He reported: "Exploration companies are snapping up mineral rights among the tobacco fields and chicken houses of Lee County. They're drawn by the possibility of enough natural gas to meet demand for decades. But drilling would also carry environmental risks, as it does in the Gulf.
"The method that would be used, called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," injects water and chemicals underground at high pressure to crack open shale. It can contaminate groundwater and deplete water supplies, and it currently is illegal in North Carolina, which produces no gas or oil."
In January, the issue started to be addressed in the General Assembly, with signals pointing to slow action.
Much of the shale involved is under parts of the Triangle, in a swath that basically parallels a little bit west of U.S. 1.
The School of Government at UNC has a "Water Wiki" site that is fed with updates on the issue and others that are related.
This issue is playing out nationally, where the drilling has been going on and causing problems. HBO is showing a film on the issue, Gasland, in its regular rotation.
Last weekend, The New York Times had a lengthy story focused on lax regulation of fracking.
It's part of an ongoing series.
Of note are links to documents -- annotated by the Times -- that have been included in the coverage.
It's worth a read.