New law makes Vermont the first state to ban fracking

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2012

Paul Burns
Executive Director
141 Main Street, Suite 6
Montpelier, VT 05602
802-223-5221 x.12

Montpelier, VT – Gov. Peter Shumlin made Vermont the first state in the nation to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas when he signed H.464 into law today.

Shumlin praised environmental advocates and legislative sponsors for their leadership on the bill. He also noted that the new law could be a model for other states to follow.

“Fracking for gas is not the solution to our energy needs, it’s part of the problem,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “I’m proud that Vermont has a governor who understands the difference between a problem and a solution and is willing to stand up for clean renewable energy over fossil fuels.”

Fracking is a highly controversial method of extracting natural gas from dense rock formations deep in the ground by injecting huge quantities of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure. Citizens in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York have raised concerns about fracking endangering water supplies, air quality and public health.

Yesterday, at a rally and concert in Albany, NY, hundreds of activists joined celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo, Melissa Leo and Natalie Merchant to encourage New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking in that state. VPIRG’s Paul Burns was also invited to speak about Vermont’s role in becoming the first state not only to ban fracking, but also the disposal of dangerous fracking waste.

“It was an honor to be asked to speak for Vermont at an event like that,” said Burns. “The way the crowd erupted in applause when they heard that the bill would be signed into law today was amazing. It gave me a good sense of just how important our leadership role can be.”

Gov. Shumlin highlighted the work on Sen. Ginny Lyons and Representatives Tony Klein, David Deen, Kate Webb and Jim McCullough in shepherding the bill through.


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  • Don Peabody

    This is great; many thanks to all who made it happen. Now for a tougher nut: reports indicate that fluids used in fracking are being “treated” by “treatment plants”. I’m not clear on what’s going on–and I’m not sure what technically correct words to use here, and I’ve plenty of questions along the way–which, I will number–so, please, bear with me–but I take it that fluids with known carcinogens are being transported–(1.) by tanker trucks?–to municipal waste water treatment plants–(2.) are there any private treatment plants? (3.) and who monitors where those trucks actually dump their fluids?–and added to their waste treatment–and, therefore, effluent–stream in, at least, Pennsylvania and, perhaps–this is a question: (4.)–New York.
    Who knows? (5.)Who knows where and what this stuff is and into what watershed it’s being dumped after “treatment”? And, (6.)for the sake of protecting Lake Champlain, who’s got the maps of the watershed that shows where the treatment plants are? And, (7.)who’s talking with Mr. Cuomo et al. and (8.) drafting legislation, and at what level, to make sure that none of that poison reaches our water? (9.)And, what about the Connecticut River watershed and Memphremagog? Who’s watching Quebec and New Hampshire politics and the fracking industry closely enough to monitor dangers to our water from those neighbors?

  • Rep. Jim

    H.464 permits the transit of flowback (water and chemicals) resulting from hydraulic fracturing into and through VT but prohibits the storage or processing of it in VT. We do not prescribe what our neighbors can or can not do.

  • Don Peabody

    Oh, I understand that “we do not prescribe what our neighbors can or can not do”–except as we may prevail in the Halls of Congress–but we should have a well-researched idea of the consequences of what they might allow as that impacts on the health and welfare of our citizenry.

  • KA Anderson

    As an economic refugee from Vermont, I have become used to the lack of thought that seems to prevail in the state where I was born. Fracking has been in use for over 30 years. No one has been able to prove that this completion technique has or is causing any groundwater problems, and there is considerable proof that it does not. Fracking has been the “Golden Goose” for the domestic oil and gas industry and has allowed us to become less dependent on countries of the world who not only dislike us, kill our citizens at home and abroad, but also fund those who commit themselves to hate throughout the world. Fracking has allowed marginally economic oil and gas resources to becomes economic. Along the way, it has created tens of thousands of jobs. Last I checked, Vermont was in need of jobs, mineral royalties for landowners, severance taxes for the state till, and other benefits brought by this (my) industry. While the probability of oil is low in Vermont, the same cannot be declared for gas. The west/northwest part of the state has demonstrated historical gas presence and the geological features exist for this resource. Without fracking, however, it does not exist. Once again, the legislature has voted for exclusion and imposed the consequences on Vermonters.

  • R Vititow

    For the better economy of New Hampshire…is anyone aware of the current political thinking in that state when it comes to possibly accepting fracking waste?

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