New Jersey lawmakers took action on a package of bills aimed at halting the practice of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial process that produces natural gas by injecting large volumes of water into wells dug in Marcellus Shale formations.
In adopting a bill (A-3653) that would impose a moratorium in New Jersey on the practice, also known as "fracking," the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee stopped short of a total ban on the drilling technology that many environmentalists had sought. The committee also passed a resolution urging Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York (although it already has a moratorium in place) to halt the practice.
The move to stop fracking in New Jersey is more symbolic than substantive, since no drilling for natural gas is occurring here. But the legislative action is indicative of the increasingly contentious nature of the practice, the subject of several front-page articles in The New York Times. Foes say the practice could contaminate the Delaware River, the source of drinking water for 15 million people in the region.
Can Pennsylvania listen?