By Steve Hornby and Steve MascarenasWASHINGTON — Wisconsin Gov.
Scott Walker on Tuesday signed a bill banning new drilling in the state, the second time in as many weeks the state has enacted a similar measure.
The measure, approved in the Assembly on a voice vote, prohibits the construction of new oil and gas drilling wells, new oilfield service wells and other new wells that are “determined to have a potential to release toxic or hazardous material into groundwater.”
The bill also imposes penalties of up to $2,000 for violators.
The measure applies to all drilling operations, regardless of size or type.
The governor signed the bill Tuesday evening.
He also signed a separate bill in the Senate that would require that oil and other gas drilling activities on public lands in Wisconsin cease if a new fracking boom takes place.
The move comes as the state prepares to host the first phase of a $1 billion fracking boom on public land, which the governor says will be beneficial to the state.
He said the fracking boom will bring billions of dollars into the state economy, and help to pay for roads, schools and public services.