Vermont Press Releases

Vermont Senate committee passes ban on fracking

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.

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  • Tammy Reiss

    May god and Governor Cuomo have pity on our NYS and ban fracking. Congratulations Vermont for having a senate that is listening to its residents. You can be proud to continue calling your selves the Green Mountain state.
    Tammy of Butternuts New York

  • Stan Hopson

    It’s so great to be the “first” all the time.

  • Don Peabody

    I’m very happy the state Senate has taken this action; hopefully, we will never allow fracking in Vermont, and, hopefully, the feds won’t pre-empt this area of public safety. However, I am aware of the potential for harm flowing to us from surrounding states and provinces. With the protection of water in mind, I wonder: Has anyone–DoH, ANR, VPIRG, CLF– looked at watershed maps with an eye to the potential flow-path of “treated” fracking waste? And, there’s an obvious follow-up question: Do we know if any facilities within that watershed area are currently receiving fracking fluids for treatment? If we don’t, how can we find out? It is true, after all: We all do live “downstream.”

  • As an Ohioan, I’m happy to hear this news and hope the bill passes. We’re currently looking at VT as a possibly state for residence as we’re fleeing the gas/oil industry in our state. This makes VT rank on my list as a possible place to move my business.

  • Thank you to Vermont’s state senate and to the activists who made this fracking ban possible!

    We are watching & standing up & applauding you from Pennsylvania. Our Commonwealth is being pillaged by the fracking companies, who’ve bought & paid for both our legislature & governor.

    Your action gives us a bit of a second wind, sometimes we feel that it’s hopeless, thanks for renewing our will to fight on.

  • Lora Peluso

    Considering that PA is a huge natural gas state, the state legislature of PA should look to the Vermont restrictions to find ways of protecting it’s citizens from this dangerous practice. Regulations from both OSHA and the EPA are critical to the protection of the populous and the environment. While I have little faith of this practice being banned inPA due to the economic value of gas drilling, we currently have a legislature that is entirely focused on deregulation of this industry. This includes passing a bill which requires physicians to sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the harmful nature of the chemicals used in the fracking which result in medical conditions to the communities where this practice is occurring. If they don’t comply , the corporations do not have to disclose the list of chemicals used in the fracking procedure, which is critical information the physician needs to test and treat patients. The PA legislature passed this bill protecting the big corporations at the expense of the people’s welfare. Amazing!

  • Sarah Moore

    Thank you to the senate for passing a BAN on fracking. I’m from central Pennsylvania where this practice has taken a serious toll on the environment and landscape of my beautiful hometown. I am so proud to live in Vermont where we will not allow this fracking thing to occur!

  • Anna Gullickson

    I’ve lived in and loved Western PA for 27 years…but I’m looking for a place in Vermont, now!!!!! Thank God there are still people in this nation with some sense. Go Vermont!

  • Thank you for setting this precedent. Australians are moving to ban fracking, but the corporate owned government is resisting with all their lobbying power. Somehow, this world wide battle must be won, and when it does, it will open the public eye to the devastation corporations bring to this world everywhere.

  • Michael Smith

    There are a few things everyone should know:

    Every gas well or oil well ever drilled in the US has been fracked. In the old days they used explosives, now they use various fluids including water.

    Banning all fracking will ban ALL petro-carbon drilling.

    The supposed problems with fracking are solely related to the very “long” horizontal wells, not the more standard “vertical” oil and gas wells. (Many wells are drilled directionally but not horizontally as with the new drilling methods that require fracking of as much as a thousand feet of the formation or more).

    There has been nothing “proving” fracking has actually caused problems. All we have are anecdotal stories. Now that we know which chemicals are being used, we can require testing to see if these are actually causing a problem or not.

    Let’s see if there is or isn’t actually a problem by requiring the oil companies to conduct extensive pre and post fracking testing under independent oversight. We need real data, not shooting from the hip responses to unknowns.