Watch Live

NJ county bans hydraulic fracturing


NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — In a largely symbolic measure, Middlesex County has become the first in New Jersey to ban hydraulic fracturing, a method of drilling for natural gas.

The county’s freeholder board unanimously adopted the ban Thursday.

So far there has been no serious effort to do that kind of drilling in Middlesex County or anywhere else in New Jersey despite a boom in wells in neighboring Pennsylvania.

It is possible for the issue to arise, if currently unlikely. Portions of Middlesex County sit atop the Newark Basin shale, which contains natural gas.

Opponents of the practice known as “fracking” say chemicals used to extract gas could contaminate groundwater.

The state had a moratorium on drilling but it expired nearly a year ago.