N Carolina oil and gas panel to meet despite agency warning

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A reconstituted panel charged with regulating oil and gas exploration in North Carolina plans to meet this week even as Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration questions whether it can legally do so.

Jim Womack was initially appointed to the state Oil & Gas Commission before a state Supreme Court ruling struck down how its members were chosen. The General Assembly altered the law creating the commission last year to reflect that ruling.

Womack told officials the commission would meet Wednesday because state law required the panel to rule quickly on challenges to moratoria on fracking in two counties.

The No. 2 leader at the Department of Environmental Quality questioned whether Womack was actually a commission member and whether state ethics officials have signed off on all the members’ economic disclosure statements.