Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law this week that officially bans fracking in the Green Mountain state. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. The problem with fracking is that it has the potential to contaminate ground water, as well as add tons of pollutants to the air.
According to the Huffington Post, Vermont’s ban may be more of a symbolic gesture though since there is believed to be little to no natural gas or oil beneath the surface in Vermont. Still, being the first state to officially ban the practice makes a strong statement.
In other states where fracking occurs, critics have stated that the practice contaminates drinking water wells of residents living near the drilling operations, but natural gas industry officials dispute those claims.
Shumlin said the increased amounts of natural gas obtainable through hydraulic fracturing were not worth the risk to drinking water supplies. In the coming generation or two, “drinking water will be more valuable than oil or natural gas,” Shumlin said.
“Human beings survived for thousands and thousands of years without oil and without natural gas,” he said. “We have never known humanity or life on this plant to survive without clean water.”