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Fracking gas drilling technique ban passed by NJ lawmakers

Fracking: The fracking ban passed 33 to 1 in the New Jersey state Senate and 58 to 11 in the Assembly on Wednesday.

By Associated Press / July 1, 2011

In this April 23, 2010 photo, a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well site is seen near Burlington, Pa., in Bradford County. The new Jersey Senate and assembly banned the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' on Wednesday.

Ralph Wilson/AP

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TRENTON, N.J.

New Jersey's Legislature has passed a ban on the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

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The ban passed 33 to 1 in the state Senate and 58 to 11 in the Assembly on Wednesday.

It's now up to Gov. Chris Christie to decide whether to sign or veto the largely symbolic measure.

Should he sign it, New Jersey would be the first state in the country to ban fracking. Christie has not said what he'll do.

Experts say there's hardly any natural gas under New Jersey — and certainly not enough to drill for.

In hydraulic fracturing, drillers pump water, sand and chemicals underground to create fissures in rock, freeing up natural gas.

The federal government is studying whether fracking hurts water quality. Industry officials say it doesn't.

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