Lawmakers in the New Jersey Senate voted 33-1 today to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking), in a move to protect the Delaware River from potential contamination from the risky unconventional gas drilling practice. The Delaware River supplies drinking water for 15 million people in four states.
New Jersey’s decision is a significant addition to the growing list of fracking bans throughout jurisdictions in the U.S. However, these bans also demonstrate the urgent need for federal agencies to rein in the gas industry, which in all other situations and states, enjoys relative impunity.
Another example of a locality standing up to fracking is Pittsburgh, which last November banned the practice within city limits. At the time, Council Member Douglas Shields stated the issue powerfully, asking, "Why is it that this industry is absolved from all culpability, all liability, all laws that are applying to the rest of us? That remains an excellent question today as well.