BUSINESS

Judge temporarily halts fracking permits in North Carolina

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A judge has ordered North Carolina not to issue any fracking permits until the state Supreme Court rules on a legal question about how state panels are formed.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens' decision earlier this month delays the proceedings in a case by environmental groups that argues that the state's Mining and Energy Commission was formed in violation of the state constitution.

The preliminary injunction temporarily prevents the commission from accepting or processing applications for hydraulic fracturing drilling units to access natural gas underground.

Stephens writes that the state's high court is expected to rule later this summer on a separate case that depends on a similar legal question about how state panels are formed.

The Southern Environmental Law Center said Wednesday that the ruling will halt environmental harm from fracking.