At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Jackson dodges fracking, sans resolution

Jackson County officials were recently set to discuss the possibility of joining other local governments in the region and consider an anti-fracking resolution. At least that’s what Commissioner Vicki Greene thought.

 

But when Greene got a look at the board’s Sept. 15 agenda there were no items related to fracking listed. 

“Chuck, help me with that,” Greene asked County Manager Chuck Wooten, referring to the absence as the board settled into its afternoon work session.

Wooten told the commissioner that he didn’t think such a conversation was needed in light of the recent decision by the N.C. Department of Energy and Natural Resources to scuttle the geological testing that would serve as a precursor to any hydraulic fracturing activity in Western North Carolina.

“My understanding was that that relieved the concern of putting that on the agenda,” Wooten said, explaining that the issue had been scrapped from the agenda. 

“To back him up,” interjected Commissioners Chairman Jack Debnam, “he called me and I told him to.”

Greene appeared unsatisfied with the response. She said that DENR’s actions only impacted “picking up the rocks,” and that Western North Carolina should not consider itself free from the fracking debate.

“I don’t think that’s something that is going to be off the table during this next election,” Greene said. 

Wooten said that the board could potentially plow into fracking during its Oct. 20 work session.

“I plan to discuss this issue with Jack and Vicki to determine our next steps,” Wooten said. “I suspect that if Vicki wants to discuss fracking then I will work with her to develop a resolution.”

Go to top