Even as new fracking-related legislation advances in other states, Vermont’s governor has signed into law the nation’s first ban on the controversial natural gas drilling method.
Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin signed the law yesterday, citing concerns about groundwater contamination. In the coming generations, “drinking water will be more valuable than natural gas,” Shumlin said. “We have an abundance of [clean, drinkable water] in Vermont. We’re going to protect it at all costs.”
The dangerous gas drilling process injects water and chemicals into underground rock formations at high pressures to release natural gas, skirting around the Safe Drinking Water Act thanks to an exemption known as the Halliburton Loophole. Passed in 2005, this questionable exemption strips the EPA of its ability to regulate the toxic chemicals fracking blasts into drilling sites, regardless of the site’s proximity to drinking water. The industry has adamantly resisted any amount of oversight and regulation.