Oregon House approves 10-year fracking ban

Oregon House approves 10-year fracking ban
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The Oregon House on Monday voted by a large margin to approve a 10-year ban on fracking in the state, according to a report by The Oregonian.

The state House voted 42-12 in favor of outlawing the practice, in which pressurized liquid is injected into deep rock formations to allow oil and natural gas to escape. There are no current fracking operations in Oregon, but developers have long eyed the Willamette Valley as a potential site for methane fracking, according to The Oregonian.

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The vote makes Oregon the fourth state to ban the practice after New York, Vermont and Maryland. Florida and New Mexico are also considering bans or restrictions.

Ban advocates claim the practice pollutes groundwater and contributes to earthquakes. The bill next heads to the state Senate, which Democrats also control by about the same margin.

“Oregon’s natural beauty should be cherished and protected,” said bill sponsor Rep. Rachel Prusak in a press release. “This legislation is a common sense proposal to ensure that no one engages in this potentially destructive practice while we work to better understand its long-term impacts.”

“I am pleased that this legislation received bipartisan support today,” said Rep. Ken Helm (D), who co-sponsored the bill. “When it comes to protecting this state, we all have a vested interest in being thoughtful about how we regulate new industries that could have significant long-term impacts.”