The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has approved a bill that would create a 10-year moratorium on the technique, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Although the state isn’t seen as a rich source of shale gas, there could be limited deposits in western Massachusetts.
Environmental activists argue that fracking can lead to water contamination, illness and damaged rural landscapes. They say the potential problem is heightened in Massachusetts by the fact that many communities in the Pioneer Valley rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water.
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping huge volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow. Supporters say the technique is safe and is a way to extract natural shale gas that would otherwise remain trapped underground, helping keep energy prices lower "
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