SALEM, Ore. — A bill now heading for Governor Kate Brown's desk will ban the practice of "fracking" for oil or gas until 2025, state Democrats heralded on Wednesday.
Fracking is the common nickname for hydraulic fracturing, a technique for blasting water, sand and chemicals into bedrock in an effort to access oil or natural gas deposits.
“This bill will put a stop to a dangerous and environmentally damaging practice in Oregon,” said Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene), a chief co-sponsor of the bill. “We don’t want oil and gas companies to come in and start wasting our water and damaging our environment to make a buck. It dirties our water and pollutes our planet.”
House bill 2623 passed the Senate in a 17-11 vote on Wednesday. It declares a five-year moratorium on the practice while exempting "natural gas storage wells, geothermal activities and existing coal bed methane extraction wells," according to the Democrats.
“HB 2623 is a straight-forward bill that reflects Oregon’s priorities to combat climate change and wean our economy off fossil fuels,” said Meredith Connolly, Oregon State Director of Climate Solutions. “The devastating impacts of fracturing on numerous communities around the country further demonstrates the foolhardiness of expanding fractured gas exploration and production. Prohibiting fractured gas production also sends an important signal to Oregon’s natural gas utilities and distributors that Oregon is not interested in expanding its reliance on fossil fuel-based gas. Instead, we need to develop alternatives such as renewable natural gas and shift to clean sources of electricity.”
The technology for fracking has been around for decades, but it has become increasingly common in recent years, leading to a marked increase in U.S. oil and gas production.