North Carolina fracking panel’s first meeting delayed

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A retooled state panel responsible for regulating North Carolina’s potential fracking industry won’t meet this week for the first time after all, avoiding possible legal showdowns involving Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration and drilling opponents.

A fracking proponent appointed to the state Oil & Gas Commission had scheduled its first meeting Wednesday. But Jim Womack said late Tuesday it was postponed until late October or early November to give time for state ethics officials to review economic disclosure statements of commission appointees for conflicts of interest.

The Department of Environmental Quality’s chief deputy questioned late last week whether the commission was legally able to convene and said department staff wouldn’t attend because of it.

Legislators reworked the commission last year following a state Supreme Court ruling about the board’s appointments.

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