The New York Times Green blog reported yesterday that the NY House of Delegates has passed a moratorium on natural gas drilling using the process of hydraulic fracture, or "fracking."
The bill has already passed the state senate, so it will just need the governor's signature for the moratorium to go into effect. As you would expect, industry is lobbying hard against the law. But the vote was a convincing 93-43, so you know there's a lot of popular sentiment behind it.
The reason these laws are so popular is that people are skeptical that industry will police itself, given recent history, and the survival instinct kicks in when there is a hint of threat of poisoning our water--which is what the industry can't guarantee won't happen, because they don't really know what subterranean passages may open up with the pressure of the fracking process. Over 70 percent of the carcinogenic-tainted water they use in the process is left under the ground.
This is an issue that requires our close attention here in West Virginia, where our legislature will be considering its own fracking laws in the next regular session, and here in Hampshire County, where, as Jim Dodgins reported yesterday, we already have Marcellus shale wells.
Here's a good website to take a look at the issue:
On the issue of human rights in America, which has also been a topic discussed in this blog of late, the US was the recent subject of its first-ever formal evaluation by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which issued its report last month. In her article at Online Journal, Mary Shaw, the former Philadelphia-area coordinator for Amnesty International, gives a good synopsis of the report's recommendations on how America can improve its human rights profile.