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The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday that would place a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing. The bill passed the state Senate by 32-1 and the state Assembly by 56-11. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not said if he would sign the bill into law. New Jersey is the first state to consider a ban on fracking.

The language in the New Jersey legislation echoes the concerns of fracking critics and accuses the industry of being unwilling to reveal the contents of fracking liquids. Some companies have voluntarily reported the contents of their fracking liquids to an online database and some drillers report using chemicals like formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid and 2-butoxyethanol.

Fracking is the process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals - some of them toxic - into underground formations to split up rock and release natural gas. Fracking operations require millions of gallons of water. Fracking proponents say the practice is safe and will create jobs while producing cheap, clean-burning domestic fuel.

New Jersey shares watersheds with New York and Pennsylvania, where a vast, gas-rich underground formation called the Marcellus Shale has become ground zero for the fracking debate in the eastern United States. The Marcellus Shale underlies 36 percent of the Delaware River basin, which provides water to 15 million people in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. (Truth Out, 6/30/2011)