BOSTON- Senator Eric Lesser voted with the Senate last week to ban hydraulic fracturing in Massachusetts.
The bill creates a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until 2026, and establishes hydraulic fracturing fluid as a pollutant. Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas.
“In Western Massachusetts, we pride ourselves on our natural beauty and our protected public space. That’s why today I voted to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in Massachusetts,” said Senator Lesser. “It’s a dangerous practice with public health and environmental impacts not clearly understood. Simply put, it doesn’t belong in our Commonwealth.”
Public health experts have raised concerns about the effects fracking has on local water sources, as well as the large quantity of water used to extract the natural gas. Experts are particularly concerned about the potential of these fluids to leak into local well water and cause negative health effects.
Additives such as sand, acids, and other chemicals are mixed into the water to help generate the fractures and keep them clear for gas flow. These mixtures present threats of aquifer and surface water contamination, along with the increased mobilization of harmful, naturally-occurring compounds seated in the formation, such as methane. Other concerns include the risks of induced seismicity and the continued emissions of greenhouse gases from the fracking process.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.