From: ecoRI News staff
Published December 1, 2013 09:16 AM

Massachusetts Legislature moves on fracking moratorium

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has approved a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking. The committee’s approval of a bill introduced by Reps. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, and Denise Provost, D-Somerville, came after Environment Massachusetts and its allies presented the committee with documented cases of water contamination, illness and other damage from fracking operations elsewhere.

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"From Pennsylvania to Colorado, fracking has contaminated water, threatened residents' health and turned rural landscapes into industrial zones" said Ben Hellerstein, field associate for Environment Massachusetts. "Thanks to the leadership of Chairs Anne Gobi and Mark Pacheco, we are now one step closer to protecting the Pioneer Valley from dirty drilling."

Concern over fracking in the Bay State has been growing since last year, when an industry-affiliated organization met with landowners in western Massachusetts to discuss the prospects for fracking there. Moreover, as New York mulls over large-scale fracking, drilling operators could soon view western Massachusetts as a convenient dumping ground for toxic fracking wastewater.

"All you have to do is look at the overlap of shale and water resources in the Pioneer Valley, and you know we cannot allow fracking -- or its toxic waste -- to come to Massachusetts," Provost said.

"Our state government must do everything it can to protect our drinking water supplies," Kocot said. "This bill will help to ensure that the health and prosperity of our communities is maintained."

Natural gas well rig image via Shutterstock.

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