Days after being nominated to fill the seat of former Rep. Bryan Holloway, Kyle Hall is speaking out on the issue of fracking after local activists questioned a 2012 blog post by Hall which supported frackng in North Carolina.
“While I agree with the members of the Stokes County Board of Commissioners and Rep. Holloway on a wide range of issues related to economic freedom through low taxes, low government spending, and eliminating crippling government regulations, I believe that these individuals have made a misguided decision and have not thoroughly investigated fracking,” Hall wrote in his blog post in 2012 after the Stokes County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing fracking. The blog post was headed with a graphic which read “Support American Energy Let’s Frack!”
On Thursday, Hall said he had changed his stance on the issue, saying that he would now vote against fracking and would even consider introducing a bill to give local governments more control over the issue.
“That post was written a long time ago, when, if I remember correctly, I was in college,” said Hall. “One of the things I believe in as a conservative Republican is the more localized a decision can be, the better. The technical bill that was passed at the last minute was a completely wrong move on the state’s part. I don’t think the federal government is all knowing and the state government is not all knowing. If the citizens of an area protest it then it should not happen there. If fracking is not allowed by certain counties then it should not be allowed there. I was just misinformed on the issue.”
Hall said when he made the post, which argued that fracking could improve the local and state economy, no one knew what the potential for natural gas generation in Stokes County could be.
“Now it looks like it would only be a couple of months worth of supply,” he said Thursday. “If we don’t have a lot then I don’t want the oil companies coming down here and destroying our roads. If it is not going to be a long-term thing then it is not worth it.”
Hall said he still supported efforts for energy independence but said the state efforts should be directed at off-shore production instead of fracking.
“We seem to be talking about fracking when it is potentially dangerous to our water table when we could go off-shore and it would not cause as much damage,” he said. “As a state we need to be investing more into that.”
Hall noted that he would do everything he could to support the views of his constituents.
“I will vote against fracking,” he said. “I appreciate what Bryan Holloway did in the past and I will continue the same thing Bryan did and always stand against it.
“We need to disclose the chemicals used,” he added. “We need to have safeguards in place. We need to have our citizens and our water protected.”
Hall added that he thought the technical bill passed in the last minutes of this year’s General Assembly session which moved to invalidate local moratoriums was “the definition of closed door politics.”
“That is something I will fight against,” he said. “I would consider introducing legislation to reverse that if at all possible. I think there are members of the Republican caucus who would support it and I think it should come to a straight up or down vote.”
Hall said the removal of his original 2012 blog post from his personal web page was not an attempt to hide anything.
“I am just redoing my website,” he said. “I bought the URL years ago and plan on continuing to use it for my campaign website. There was no point in having a blog as a campaign website.”
Hall noted the URL had been purchased when he was in college as part of a creative writing course.
He also said that while working for American’s For Prosperity, which he described as a conservative agency that fights for lower taxes and less regulations, one of their platforms had been energy independence.
“They lumped fracking into that,” he said. “When I was working for them that was something we stood for. That is not my opinion today.”
Hall added that he would be happy to talk to local organizations opposed to fracking.
“I welcome meeting them and discussing the issues,” he said. “I will do what the people ask me to do and stand up for their beliefs. Don’t rush to judgment on me, let me get down to Raleigh first.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.