North Carolina lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a measure that would allow fracking for natural gas to begin in the state next year.
The Republican-controlled state House voted 63-52 to approve the bill Wednesday, with a dozen members of the GOP caucus and all but one Democrat voting no.
The House will hold another vote Thursday before sending the bill back to the Senate, which approved an earlier version of the bill last week. If the Senate agrees with the House changes, the bill heads to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who has said he will sign it into law.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is used by the energy industry to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.