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For all my digital-media enthusiasm, I still have one foot firmly planted in the old media world. Especially when I can spend a fine Sunday morning perusing the N&O and New York Times. And especially when it leads to a realization like yesterday’s:
 
North Carolina will have a war over fracking in 2012.
 
The N&O had a story about Republican State Sen. Bob Rucho’s trip to Pennsylvania’s shale gas drilling region. Rucho said: “I was impressed with the best industry practices they’ve established. What we saw was green grass and cows grazing.” Complaints are erroneous or exaggerated, the N&O quoted him as saying.
 
Democrats and environmentalists shot back that Rucho’s response is predictable “when your itinerary consists of only going on an industry-sponsored tour and meeting economic development officials instead of ordinary folks.”
 
Then read Sunday’s New York Times story about the same part of Pennsylvania: “Harvesting this gas promises either to provide Americans with a clean domestic energy source or to despoil rural areas and poison our air and drinking water, depending on whom you ask.”

The story was replete with residents’ disturbing accounts of sick children, sick animals and sickly smells.

 
A couple of weeks ago, Cullen Browder of WRAL went to Pennsylvania and reported on the divided reactions. His piece had footage of a woman lighting a match in her tap water, which she blamed on the fracking.
 
With central North Carolina a prime target for fracking, with Democrats looking for wedge issues, with environmentalists looking for fights they can win, you can safely predict a full-fledged political war is coming.
 

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