Vermont Governor, Peter Shumlin, signed a statewide hydraulic-fracturing ban into law on Wednesday, making it the first state where the drilling process is completely illegal.
Although still a great victory for environmentalists, the move is considered somewhat symbolic since Vermont is not believed to have large gas deposits below its surface. However, it is still a great lead for the state to take, especially considering that nearby states New York and Pennsylvania have been plagued by fracking companies for their resources.
The Governor points out that despite Vermont’s current lack of drilling prospects, the point of fracking is to squeeze oil and gas from rocks that previously seemed too dry to drill. “We don’t know that we don’t have natural gas in Vermont,” he said Wednesday, according to the Burlington Free Press. “This bill will ensure we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy.”
As a result of the ban, Vermont has taken some heat from the gas and oil industry. America’s Natural Gas Alliance called it “poor policy” in a letter to Shumlin, and the American Petroleum Institute described it as “shortsighted and uninformed” in a recent press release.
Shumlin stands behind his decision, discussing the impact that fracking can have on our environment. “One of the biggest challenges that future generations are going to face is clean, drinkable water,” said Shumlin. “We have an abundance of it in Vermont. I think it’s a great message that we’re going to protect it at all costs. … Human beings survived for thousands and thousands of years without oil and without natural gas. We have never known humanity or life on this planet to survive without clean water.”