A new Bad Bill of the Week wants to ban hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, despite the process not actually happening in Massachusetts. Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D – Marblehead) filed the bill titled “An Act preventing the disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastewater” that would functionally prohibit fracking in Massachusetts. Her goal is to stop an industry from even entering the Commonwealth without an examination of its potential benefits.
The EPA has declared fracking safe while multiple economic studies have shown that fracking has had a major impact on economic development. According to one such study, from the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, over the past decade fracking has reduced heating gas bills for consumers by $130 billion dollars. That money can be used by consumers for other, job-creating areas such as retail and business investment.
North Dakota embraced fracking and now enjoys skyrocketing tax revenue from the economic growth. Last year they had a state surplus of $600 million, and this year they have a $900 million dollar surplus and the novel problem of trying to figure out how to spend the money.
Banning a safe, job creating, revenue increasing industry isn’t just shortsighted, it’s irresponsible. Many anti-frackers claim that the practice hurts the environment and is bad for global warming. Yet, when the same scientists who warn against global warming suggest fracking is safe, people ignore the science. The science is clear – fracking is safe and clean. The only question is whether legislators like Lori Ehrlich will follow the science.