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John Rumpler,
Environment America

11,700 CALL FOR BAN ON FRACKING: Environment Massachusetts and Allies Deliver Petition to Bar Dirty Drilling in the Commonwealth

For Immediate Release

BOSTON, MA - This morning, more than 11,000 residents called on Beacon Hill to ban the dirty drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), in petitions presented by Environment Massachusetts and its allies at a statehouse news conference. The petitions show wide support for H.788, a bill introduced by Representatives Peter Kocot and Denise Provost to ban fracking and the processing of its toxic wastewater in the commonwealth.

“In states like Pennsylvania, we have already seen fracking contaminate drinking water and make nearby residents sick,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment Massachusetts. "Residents looking at this track record have one message for their legislators today: Keep this dirty drilling out of Massachusetts."

Local concern about fracking has grown since the U.S. Geological Survey identified shale gas deposits in the Pioneer Valley last December. Moreover, as New York mulls large-scale fracking next door, drilling operators could soon view Western Massachusetts as a convenient dumping ground for toxic fracking wastewater.

"In light of the threats to our environment and to our health, we cannot allow fracking - or its toxic waste - to come to Massachusetts," said Rep. Provost, sponsor of H.788.

Bill H.788 would protect the commonwealth from both of these threats by both banning fracking and its wastewater. Last year, Vermont already enacted a similar law, and New Jersey legislators voted overwhelmingly for a ban on fracking waste (and citizens there are calling for an override of Gov. Chris Christie’s veto).

Laced with cancer-causing and even radioactive materials, fracking wastewater has contaminated drinking water sources from Pennsylvania to New Mexico. For Western Massachusetts, such threats are heightened by the fact that many communities in the Pioneer Valley rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water.

"The quantity and quality of our existing water supply is invaluable and irreplaceable," declared Mayor Michael Tautznik of Easthampton. "Gambling our water against the known dangers of this dirty drilling is a loser's proposition."
Later today in Greenfield, in solidarity with the petitions gathered by Environment Massachusetts and CREDO, local residents will show their opposition to fracking through community art. Alongside the Climate Summer team, a group of youth traveling exclusively by bicycle throughout the state focused on climate action, local Greenfield community members will demonstrate their concern for fracking coming to their community through visual art on the town common.

In addition to impacts on the local environment, fracking and processing of gas releases methane – a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon.

"It turns out that fracking contributes to global warming in a major way,” observed Dorian Sosnick Williams, an organizer with A Better Future Project. “If Massachusetts is serious about combating climate change, we cannot allow fracking here."

Rumpler ended the petition delivery with praise for all 14 co-sponsors of H.788:

“By sponsoring a ban on fracking, these legislators are standing tall against the oil and gas industry. And today, thousands of their constituents are standing with them,” he concluded.