North Carolina is moving forward to legalize hydraulic fracturing — commonly called fracking — after an accidental vote by Democratic state Rep. Becky Carney overrode Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto on Monday.
Perdue had attempted to veto a Senate bill passed to allow the natural-gas extraction technique in her state, WRAL reported.
The vote was 72-47, with Carney’s accident providing the final vote necessary for the override.
Carney has voted against hydraulic fracturing in the past, and said she spent the day lobbying other Democrats to uphold the veto.
When the vote was taking place, House members had to push either a green button to override the bill or a red button to sustain the veto.
Carney pushed the wrong button. Moments later, her voice was heard on her microphone, saying, “Oh my gosh. I pushed green.”
Republicans blocked Carney’s attempt to change her vote, since House rules in North Carolina don’t allow members to correct mistaken votes when the change would affect the bill’s passage.
The Associated Press defines hydraulic fracturing as “a technique used by the energy industry to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.”
Before the technology used in the technique was advanced in the 1990s, extracting that oil and natural gas was not economically viable.
While proponents point to job creation, affordable energy and increased energy independence made possible by the technique, opponents say the chemicals used in the process could potentially hurt the environment, particularly drinking water.
“I feel rotten, and I feel tired,” Carney told WRAL, “And I feel that mistakes are made constantly when people are tired.”