A bill aimed at temporarily banning the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is making its way through the Massachusetts Statehouse.
The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has approved a bill that would create a 10-year moratorium on the technique in Massachusetts.
Environmental activists argue that fracking can lead to water contamination, illness, and damaged rural landscapes.
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 down.
There could be limited shale gas deposits in western Massachusetts.
The bill must still be approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick before becoming law.
Vermont last year became the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing. (Associated Press)