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NC Senate bill adds divisive new fracking measures

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The sun sets behind an oil pump jack and the Rocky Mountains near Fredrick, Colo. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) The sun sets behind an oil pump jack and the Rocky Mountains near Fredrick, Colo. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

What's often considered an annual environmental housecleaning bill in the North Carolina Legislature is drawing fierce criticism after some new provisions on hydraulic fracturing were added.

The bill introduced in a Senate panel Tuesday added new provisions that environmentalists fear will tamper with air quality standards and hydraulic fracturing safeguards. Environmental advocates said they need to review the measure because they were seeing it for the first time.

Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as "fracking," involves injecting chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to extract natural gas. A state commission created by the legislature is charged with writing rules for the industry before regulators issue permits.

The Senate panel endorsed the bill unanimously on a voice vote. It now heads to the Senate.

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