BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate is backing a 10-year moratorium on fracking in the state.

The bill was approved unanimously Thursday. It would also bar disposal in Massachusetts of wastewater from fracking.

Also known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking involves the injection of millions of gallons of water along with sand and chemicals to shatter underground rock and free shale gas or oil.

There are currently no fracking operations in the Bay State. Critics of the process hope to ensure that no drilling occurs around the Hartford basin, a rock formation in the Connecticut River Valley that may contain gas deposits.

Democratic Sen. Marc Pacheco argues fracking can release harmful chemicals, contaminate groundwater and cause small earthquakes.

The measure now goes to the House.

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