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Massachusetts lawmakers propose 10-year fracking ban that would make toxic wastewater disposal illegal


Massachusetts

(NaturalNews) Amidst raging concerns over the environmental ramifications of the controversial oil- and natural gas-harvesting technique, lawmakers in the Bay State have proposed enacting a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," opponents of which claim that it is rapidly polluting lakes, rivers and groundwater aquifers throughout the country, which provide clean drinking water for animals and humans.

If successful, the effort would add the state of Massachusetts to the growing list of American territories where fracking has already been outlawed, a direct response to mounting evidence showing that fracking chemicals aren't being effectively regulated, and are consequently making their way into our most precious natural resources – our food and water supplies – and at an increasingly alarming rate.

Recognizing that the fracking process involves injecting untold millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals into the ground in order to break up shale rock and release gas and oil, it isn't difficult to see why the process is highly controversial. All those chemicals have to go somewhere, and that somewhere includes the precious soils and groundwater that abut drilling operations.

According to the Associated Press, the Massachusetts Senate is overwhelmingly in support of the bill, which it approved unanimously following a recent hearing. The measure will now go on to the House, where backers from the group Environment Massachusetts hope it will likewise pass with flying colors.

"The harm caused by fracking has no place in Massachusetts," stated Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco following the vote. "Fracking releases harmful chemicals into our air while contaminating fresh groundwater, causing seismic events, flaring methane and severely harming public health.

"Vermont and New York have already banned the practice, while Maryland has enacted a moratorium. It is now Massachusetts' turn. I am pleased to sponsor this bill to protect residents and communities of the Commonwealth."

Public servants, health professionals and everyday folks agree: fracking is a no-no

Massachusetts has yet to host even a single fracking operation, which means the measure is more of a precautionary effort than it is a response. But with nearby Pennsylvania already a fracking hotbed, as are many other states throughout the country, Massachusetts environmentalists and everyday citizens alike see the writing on the wall.

"Across the country, fracking is polluting drinking water and making families sick," said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, in a recent statement following the Senate vote. "We applaud Senate leaders for taking steps to ensure this dirty drilling never comes to Massachusetts."

Of particular concern with the measure is the Connecticut River Valley, which is heavily dependent upon wells for drinking water. Such water resources are irreplaceable, experts admit, and fracking threatens to pollute them, possibly forever. There are also the many reports of health problems arising from methane gas releases, including nausea, rashes, dizziness, nosebleeds and headaches.

"When an industry group held a seminar a few years back about fracking in the Hartford Basin, I immediately filed a bill to prevent this activity," explained Representative Denise Provost in a statement about why she supports the moratorium. "The Connecticut River Valley is heavily dependent on well water, and its surface waters provide much of the drinking water for Greater Boston. A fracking ban is essential to protect our irreplaceable water resources."

State health professionals – more than 1,000 of them, to be exact – agree with Rep. Provost's sentiments. They've signed onto a petition calling for state and federal officials to intervene on behalf of public health. If projects like Spectra Access Northeast, which would deliver fracked natural gas into Massachusetts, are allowed to proceed, there's no telling what damage would be caused in the long term.

"Massachusetts has long been a leader when it comes to promoting clean energy and stopping global warming," said Hellerstein. "A ban on fracking is a great way to continue our record of leadership. Now, it's up to the House and Governor Baker to finish the job."

Sources for this article include:

EnvironmentMassachusetts.org

PressHerald.com

NaturalNews.com

Science.NaturalNews.com

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