- Associated Press - Friday, October 6, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina lawmakers are moving to shut conservationists out of guaranteed seats on the state panel responsible for fracking oversight and appointing two additional industry boosters to those spots.

Legislators this week voted to remove a requirement that two of the nine seats on the state Oil & Gas Commission go to representatives of “a non-governmental conservation interest.” The change means those fracking commission members could be members of a conservation group without needing to represent conservation interests.

Gov. Roy Cooper must decide whether to sign the legislation into law.

Legislators are filling the spots with two Lee County politicians who back fracking - former state Rep. Michael Stone and former County Commissioner James Womack. The county is believed to be home to the state’s largest underground shale gas deposits.

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