April 12, 2012 Contact:
For Immediate Release Paul Burns, VPIRG, (802) 793-1985
Leah Marsters, VPIRG, (802) 349-6552
Vermont Senate Committee Passes Ban on Fracking
Earlier this morning the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee voted unanimously for a bill that would ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Vermont.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” is a dangerous drilling process that pumps huge quantities of water, toxic chemicals, and sand at very high pressure into shale formations to release natural gas from otherwise irretrievable depths. Fracking for natural gas has been linked to public health threats as well as serious ground, air, and water pollution. Activities related to fracking have also led to an increased rate of earthquakes.
The bill (H.464) was amended by the Senate Committee after passing the House of Representatives as a three year moratorium. The updated bill prohibits the use of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Vermont, and requests regular reports from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Further, the bill prohibits collection, storage, or treatment of fracking wastewater in the state.
“With this legislation Vermont would become the first state in the nation to ban fracking,” said Leah Marsters, VPIRG Clean Energy Associate. “Banning fracking is the right move for Vermont because it’s dirty, dangerous, and absolutely unnecessary in this state.”
“Senator Lyons and her committee members deserve credit for standing up to the oil and gas lobby,” said Paul Burns, Executive Director of VPIRG. “Protecting public health and Vermont’s water is not a partisan issue, as this unanimous vote demonstrates.”
The bill still needs to be passed by the full Senate and then reconciled with the House version before it becomes law.
“We’re confident that House members will join their Senate colleagues in supporting a ban on this dangerous practice,” said Burns.