A bill clearing the way for oil and gas drilling in North Carolina has passed another House committee.
The House Environment Committee on Thursday endorsed the House's more cautious alternative to a Senate bill. The House bill would begin issuing permits for oil and gas drillers in March 2015 but would not make them effective until the legislature gives approval.
A 2012 bill directed state agencies to craft rules by October 2014 for hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as "fracking," concerns environmentalists because of potential effects on water supplies.
Supporters of oil and gas exploration say it will create an economic boon and can be safely done with the proper regulations.
The bill will go to the full House after one final committee hearing.