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Ben Hellerstein,
Environment Massachusetts

Mass. Senate approves fracking moratorium

For Immediate Release

Boston — The Massachusetts Senate approved a bill yesterday to place a ten-year moratorium on fracking and the disposal of fracking wastewater in the Commonwealth.

“Across the country, fracking is polluting drinking water and making families sick,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “We applaud Senate leaders for taking steps to ensure this dirty drilling never comes to Massachusetts.”

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of drilling that involves injecting millions of gallons of water, often laced with toxic chemicals, deep underground to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas.

Although fracking is not currently happening in Massachusetts, the Hartford Shale, a rock formation under the Connecticut River Valley, may contain deposits of gas suitable for drilling.

“The harm caused by fracking has no place in Massachusetts,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco. “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.”

A growing number of documented cases show individuals suffering acute and chronic health effects while living near fracking operations — including nausea, rashes, dizziness, headaches and nose bleeds. Additionally, methane leaks from fracking wells and associated infrastructure are a significant source of global warming pollution.

“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,” said Representative Denise Provost. “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.”

More than 1,000 health professionals have called on state and federal officials to protect the public from the harms posed by fracking.

Proposed pipelines like Spectra’s Access Northeast project would bring more fracked gas into Massachusetts.

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

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Environment Massachusetts is the statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.