It is probably safe to say not many Connecticut residents are familiar with fracking -- the hydraulic fracturing process used on underground rock in the production of natural gas.

That is understandable, since no fracking is done in the state.

Similarly, it is likely most Connecticut residents aren't conversant about fracking waste -- the toxic wastewater that results from the fracking process.

That is understandable, too, since no such waste is currently brought into the state, and there are no proposals on the drawing board for that to happen.

But that does not in any way diminish the importance of a bill before the Connecticut Legislature that would ban, within state borders, the disposal or storage of wastewater from wells and other by-products of fracking in other states.

The fracking waste ban bill -- SB 237 -- emerged from the Judiciary Committee on Monday with a bipartisan majority of 34-6.

It will need passage in both the Senate and the House, plus the signature of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, to become law.

We strongly support that legislation and urge senators and representatives from Greater New Milford and throughout the state to cast "yes" votes for SB 237.

That bill has the strong backing of environmental organizations and others who are deeply concerned about protecting the people and the environment of Connecticut from toxic hazards.

Those groups and individuals have been lobbying the governor and state legislators, and many of them were on hand in Hartford on Wednesday for a march on Malloy's office in support of the legislation.

There is a competing bill that would create a two-year moratorium on fracking waste while officials at the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection study the issue and come up with regulatory rules regarding the toxic waste from fracking.

But that proposed legislation is simply a stop-gap strategy that falls far short of protecting Connecticut's residents and its environment from the known dangers and as-yet-unknown potential hazards of fracking waste.

Connecticut's geology does not allow for future development of natural gas, which makes the issue of in-state fracking waste an academic question.

However, neighboring New York, nearby Pennsylvania and other states have vast energy deposits, and the potential is there for Connecticut to be targeted as a potential site for fracking waste.

That possible eventuality can be prevented right now -- with the passage of the fracking waste ban bill.

We call on residents from this area and from all across Connecticut to contact their legislators and the governor and let them know they support SB 237 and the prohibition of fracking waste within state borders.

In turn, we call on both houses of the Legislature and Gov. Malloy to protect the state's people and environment by permanently banning fracking waste from Connecticut.