This week, the New York State Assembly approved a temporary moratorium on the controversial natural gas exploration technique known as "fracking." Combining hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling, fracking uses large quantities of water and chemicals to blast through the earth's surface and uncover natural gas reserves. The moratorium is aimed at the Marcellus Shale field, which lies partly in upstate New York.
With evidence mounting that fracking poses serious risks to groundwater reserves, the moratorium will buy the state time to better understand the environmental impacts. It sends a strong message to drilling companies that they remain transparent and prove that their operations are safe for the environment and for people living nearby. As the Gulf disaster showed all too clearly, human and environmental safety guidelines are often forgotten about in the pursuit of oil and gas profit.
(via NYT Green Blog)
Photo: A protest against hydraulic fracturing in Binghamton, N.Y., in September. (AP)