Vermont will Become First State to Ban Fracking

Not that it matters beyond PR value, but Vermont will become the first state to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, either later this week or next:

Vermont will be the first state to outlaw a controversial oil and gas drilling method known as fracking when Governor Peter Shumlin signs a bill banning the practice, a largely symbolic move given the state’s apparent lack of energy reserves.

"Governor Shumlin does support the fracking ban," said Sue Allen, a spokeswoman for Vermont’s Democratic governor. "He will sign the legislation when it reaches his desk."

Vermont’s House and Senate approved the measure last week and the bill is undergoing a final review by legislative staffers before being sent to the governor, Allen said.

It is a largely token gesture, given that Vermont does not have any natural gas reserves to speak of, sitting just outside the boundaries of the vast Marcellus shale formation.*

Perhaps the most influential drilling industry trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, is not impressed:

"The decision by the Vermont legislature to pass a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing follows an irresponsible path that ignores three major needs: jobs, government revenue and energy security," said Rolf Hansen, director of state government relations for the American Petroleum Institute, in a statement.

"Robust regulations exist at the federal and state levels nationwide for natural gas development and environmental protection," Hanson said.*

Vermont will become the first, and likely last state, to ban fracking. Except maybe for Hawaii. Oh, and Maryland. 🙂

*Reuters (May 8, 2012) – Vermont poised to be first state to outlaw fracking