W. Hugh Bailey, an attorney who practices in Sanford with the Post, Foushee & Patton law firm, has been nominated to the North Carolina Oil and Gas Commission by Governor Roy Cooper.

Bailey, a former prosecutor for Lee and Harnett counties who now focuses on general litigation and environmental law, has “experience in legal matters associated with oil and gas exploration,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. Although he’s been nominated for a four year term beginning in 2020, the nomination will still need to be approved by the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Oil and Gas Commission “is responsible for adopting rules on oil and gas exploration in North Carolina” and “has the authority to regulate the spacing of wells for oil and gas exploration, establish areas where oil and gas drilling can occur, and limit the production of oil and gas exploration,” according to its website.

Lee County, of course, sits atop shale deposits that pro-fracking elements say could produce an economic boon through the extraction of natural gas. Environmental groups locally and in other parts of the state have opposed fracking efforts over a variety of concerns, mainly regarding threats to public health.

Three people from Sanford are already appointed to the commission. They are Sanford City Councilwoman Rebecca Wyhof Salmon, former state Rep. (and friend of the Rant) Mike Stone, and Lee GOP Chairman Jim Womack, who is the commission’s chairman.

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