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Mistake allows N.C. fracking veto override

July 3, 2012 at 5:23 PM

RALEIGH, N.C., July 3 (UPI) -- A Democrat who pushed the wrong button by mistake allowed Republicans in the North Carolina Legislature to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a fracking bill.

The override passed by a single vote about 11 p.m. Monday, The Charlotte Observer reported. A Republican used a parliamentary rule to keep Rep. Becky Carney from changing her vote, something that has been common practice when legislators make mistakes, Democrats say.

"It was a huge mistake," Carney said afterward. "I take full responsibility."

Democrat Pricey Harrison said two Democrats ignored their own illness and two stayed in Raleigh for the vote even though they have terminally ill parents.

"They really did not have the votes to pass it," Harrison said. "The atmosphere is toxic right now."

The bill sets up an Energy and Mining Commission to study fracking, hydrologic fracturing of rock layers for natural gas, and to draw up regulations, which would still have to be approved by the Legislature. Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed the measure on the grounds it does not have strong enough language on public safety, but the Republican majority in the Legislature has now pushed the bill through.

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