A veteran lawmaker in North Carolina says she pushed the wrong button late Monday night in a marathon legislative session and accidentally opened up the state to fracking.
Rep. Becky Carney, a five-term Democrat from Charlotte, burst into tears after mistakenly voting with Republicans to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the contentious legislation. The measure lifts the ban on hydraulic fracturing as a means for mining for natural gas.
Ms. Carney and other Democrats asked for a do-over, as is common when a member pushes the wrong button. But in this instance, Republicans said no. A change in Carney’s vote would have changed the outcome, which is against the House rules. But Ms. Carney asked for the rules to be suspended so she could change her vote, but got nowhere.
Ms. Carney had lobbied against the fracking initiative and had voted against it previously. “It feels rotten,” Carney said, in an interview. “It’s a very heavy responsibility because I just feel like the state is not ready.”
Majority Leader Paul Stam said fracking could be important to North Carolina’s economy and Republicans needed every vote they had to allow it, including Ms. Carney’s. The Senate had already overridden the veto and it became law the moment voting closed, Mr. Stam said. “There was nothing she could do about it,” he said, in an interview. “There was nothing that can be done.