On Monday, the Haw River Assembly and Keely Wood Puricz filed suit in North Carolina state court, requesting the court to rule that North Carolina General Statute § 143B-293.2(a) is unconstitutional. North Carolina General Statute § 143B-293.2(a) specifies the appointment process for the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission (NCMEC) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The NCMEC is composed of five members appointed by the Governor and eight members appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA).
Plaintiffs contend that the appointment process for the NCMEC is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers doctrine. Specifically, Plaintiffs argue that under the current system, the Governor’s authority is unduly usurped because the state’s legislative branch can appoint more members to the NCMEC than the executive branch.
According to Plaintiffs, the NCGA has influenced its appointees to support measures favorable to fracking supporters. Plaintiffs allege that the NCGA’s appointees travel to town hall meetings with legislators to promote the benefits of fracking.
Both plaintiffs allege that they will suffer irreparable damage if the current composition of the NCMEC persists because the NCGA’s appointees will draft rules in favor of fracking. Plaintiffs are requesting that the court not only declare that the NCMEC appointment process is unconstitutional, but that the court also declare that any actions by the NCGA’s appointees are null and void.