After four hours of comments from 85 speakers, the crowd of more than 400 in Sanford for Friday’s public hearing on fracking might agree that the topic raises strong emotions on both sides.
Policy makers could finish these meetings, say they’ve met their legal obligation to listen, then go ahead with the rules already formulated.
But that’s hardly in the best interest of the state.
Those opposed to fracking made up more than 80 percent of the speakers Friday.
Additional foes of hydraulic fracturing demonstrated outside. Considering their numbers and intensity, the rules could be rewritten to embrace opponents’ agendas. But basing policy on a head count isn’t acceptable either.
Those opposing new rules on any issue, from zoning to the environment, are most likely to attend a public hearing, along with a much smaller number of people who have a vested interest.
But everyone else has to live with the new rules and fracking has dramatic potential — an economic upside and an ecological downside.
Finalizing the rules should take into account the logical points raised at this hearing and others.
Several speakers at an earlier Sanford hearing, which focused on fracking wastewater, said the new rules were too short on details.
Those points deserve well-reasoned consideration. Lawmakers promise the best fracking safety rules in the country. We expect to get them.