For immediate release
May 4, 2012
Jordan Gonda, VNRC, 814-777-0152 or [email protected]
Action is First in the Nation
Montpelier, Vt — Vermont lawmakers have approved legislation prohibiting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in the state of Vermont.
“Smart, prudent and protective, that’s what this is,” said Jordan Gonda, a spokesperson for VNRC who tracked the bill closely and testified in support of it.
Gonda noted that lawmakers took significant testimony on this issue and had wisely decided to prohibit this environmentally risky practice in Vermont. Lawmakers had considered a three-year moratorium on the practice, but ultimately opted for a prohibition.
Vermont is the first state in the nation to approve an outright ban on fracking.
Gonda noted that a future legislature could lift the prohibition if lawmakers felt the industry has shown the practice to be safe.
“There is nothing barring the gas industry from coming to the legislature any time and lobbying to lift the prohibition,” she said.
The bill also bans the storage, collection or treatment of fracking waste in Vermont.
Fracking involves forcing a mixture of chemicals, significant amounts of water and sand into bedrock to create fissures and release natural gas. The practice, which has been only lightly regulated in many other states, has contaminated groundwater and increased air pollution. There are also issues related to the disposal of used fracking water that is laced with chemicals and brine. Additionally, recent studies have shown a possible association between fracking wells and the frequency of earthquakes.
Two-thirds of Vermonters get their drinking water from groundwater sources.
The bill, H.464, got final legislative approval on May 4. The bill now heads to Gov. Shumlin’s desk.