"It's been a busy week for anyone following the national debates over hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' the controversial method used to cut into shale rock to extract natural gas. In New Jersey, a strong bipartisan majority in both chambers of the legislature approved a bill banning fracking in the state as its neighbor to the north, New York, appeared ready to end its moratorium on the practice.
The New York Times reported Thursday that on July 1, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to lift a fracking moratorium, which former Gov. David Patterson issued in an executive order last December amid concerns that the use of a high-pressure mixture of chemicals and water used to tap the rock could lead to groundwater contamination. While it was described in press accounts as Cuomo 'lifting' the ban, he's actually just letting the ban expire; it was temporary anyway, and was put in place while the state awaited the results of an environmental review, as ProPublica explains."
Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones July 1, 2011.