The bill that makes fracking legal in NC, SB820, created an NC Energy and Mining Commission. The law specified how each of the 15 members of the commission was to be appointed.
One of the members was to be appointed by the legislature upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House and to be “a member of a nongovernmental conservation interest”. For this position, House Speaker Thom Tillis appointed Mr. Ray Covington. Mr. Covington does not fit the description specified by the law. He is co-founder of North Carolina Oil and Gas, a business that represents land owners who want their land drilled. On its website, NCOG lists as one of its goals “We want this land drilled”.
There is certainly a conflict of interest in this appointment. The commission is supposed to make regulations concerning drilling, and ensure that drilling will not take place unless it can be done safely. Mr. Covington’s business wants land to be drilled and only makes money if land is drilled.
According to Jane Pinsky, director of the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, "The first rule of ethics and being part of government is that you shouldn't be in a position to benefit personally financially from what you do”.
businessman doesn't belong on fracking board, WRAL – TV, 7/25/12 www.wral.com/news/local/wral_investigates/story/11355352
Calls grow to replace Tillis appointee to drilling board, WRAL TV 7/25/12 www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/blogpost/11356113
Editorial: Conserved for Fracking? Raleigh News & Observer 7/17/12 www.newsobserver.com/2012/07/17/2204332/conserved-for-fracking.html
Environment advocates: Fracking panel has drill bias, WRAL TV 7/11/12 www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/11303939/
State's new fracking board leans toward drillers, Raleigh News & Observer 7/13/12 www.newsobserver.com/2012/07/13/2197747/fracking-board-leans-toward-drillers.html