Not a minute was wasted at the Mining and Energy Commission’s public hearing on fracking at N.C. State University’s McKimmon Center today.

Hundreds of people showed up for the four-hour-long hearing, and for a protest beforehand hosted by Frack Free North Carolina.

A panel of three from the Mining and Energy Commission— Dr. Kenneth Taylor, stumbling through a long list of speakers’ names, a stone-

faced Jim Womack and a nauseous looking vice chairwoman, Amy Pickle—heard three-minute-long reams of concerns over hydraulic fracturing, amid eruptions of applause and spontaneous bursts into song from the audience.

The messages were clear from more than 80 speakers, including elected officials, scientists, medical professionals, property owners and regular citizens:

– North Carolinians believe fracking is harmful to the environment and to human health

– They don’t trust the people in charge of making or enforcing rules and regulations on drilling companies

– The Mining and Energy Commission’s draft rules, designed to regulate the incoming fracking industry in the state, are woefully inadequate

– North Carolinians support bringing back the fracking moratorium

“We want to make sure honest policy analysis isn’t construed as legitimizing the path for dirty drilling,” Environment North Carolina’s field director Dave Rogers told the panel. “Reinstate the permanent ban on fracking.”

Check next week’s issue of the INDY for more on the fracking hearings.

Additional public hearings will take place August 22, in Sanford; Aug. 25 in Reidsville and Sept. 12 in Cullowhee. The public can also submit written comments by mail.