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North Carolina lawmakers accidentally legalized fracking in their state late on Monday night, after Democratic State Rep. Becky Carney erroneously cast the deciding vote to override Governor Bev Perdue’s veto.

Carney, who has voted against fracking in the past and spent Monday lobbying other Democrats to uphold Perdue’s veto, said that her vote was “very accidental.”

“It is late. Here we are rushing to make these kind of decisions this time of night,” she told WRAL.com‘s Laura Leslie. “And then I push the green button.”

The veto was overridden by a 72-47 vote; without Carney’s vote it would have been sustained.

Carney tried to change her vote, but House Speaker Thom Tillis would not recognize her as Representatives cannot change their vote if it would affect the bill’s passage. Immediately after the vote was cast, House Minority Leader Paul Stam used a procedural move to ensure that the veto override could not be reconsidered.

Perdue had vetoed the fracking bill three times in the past four days, according to The Raleigh News & Observer. Although she usually supports fracking, she said in a statement that “Our drinking water and the health and safety of North Carolina’s families are too important” to pass this bill. “We can’t put them in jeopardy by rushing to allow fracking without proper safeguards.”

Although fracking could provide an economic boom, there are still deep questions about the safety and environmental impact of the technique.

For her part, Carney is taking responsibility for her error.

“I feel rotten, and I feel tired,” she told WRAL. “And I feel that mistakes are made constantly when people are tired. And I feel rotten about it, but I take responsibility for my vote.”

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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