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Our opinion: Ban on fracking is shortsighted

Hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania should be regulated more tightly, but the practice should not be banned.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery/Delaware, recently finalized legislative language to create a constitutional amendment banning hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania.

Leach’s proposal came a week after a grand jury report said the state’s regulatory agencies haven’t done enough while also recommending wider buffers between drilling activity and homes, schools and hospitals; public disclosure of the mix of chemicals used; and heightened regulation of how the wastewater created by drilling is transported.

Banning the practice — as has happened in New York state — is shortsighted.

Hydraulic fracturing is at least partially responsible for a new energy boom in the United States that benefits the entire country, not just those in states where fracking is allowed. And, hydraulic fracturing is an economic benefit to our state. In the grand scheme of things, the positives outweigh the negatives.

State legislators and the Department of Environmental Protection should certainly take the grand jury’s suggestions to heart and craft a regulatory mechanism that better protects people near hydraulic fracturing sites and the environment.

But banning the practice is an overreaction that should be rejected by the state legislature.

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