CNN reports, “Vermont’s governor has signed a bill making it the first U.S. state to ban fracking, the controversial practice to extract natural gas from the ground. ‘This is a big deal,’ Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday. ‘This bill will ensure that we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy.’ Shumlin said fracking contaminates groundwater and the science behind it is ‘uncertain at best’. He said he hopes other states will follow Vermont’s lead in banning it.”
“Fracking involves injecting water, sand and some chemicals deep into the earth to crack shale rock, which frees oil and gas. Critics fear the chemicals are seeping into the groundwater.”
We congratulate our US allies who have worked to protect groundwater and make this state-wide ban possible.
Vermont has also taken other great steps to protect it’s groundwater – with the help of Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow.
In July 2006, Barlow was in Vermont “urging citizens to act quickly to protect (their) public water supplies from pollution, depletion and corporate exploitation,” according to the Vermont Natural Resources Defense Council. As they noted at that time, her visit coincided “with the enactment of H.294, Vermont’s groundwater management act, which took effect July 1. This landmark legislation, which was signed by the governor in May, marks Vermont’s first step toward determining exactly where we stand in relation to that precious natural resource beneath our feet.”
By April 2008, the Associated Press reported, “Lawmakers studying legislation that would protect Vermont’s groundwater heard dire warnings about a worldwide shortage of fresh water that could worsen exponentially in the coming years, according to a Canadian author. ‘It’s going to surpass energy as a national security issue for the United States,’ said Barlow… ‘There are alternative forms of energy, but we haven’t yet found an alternative to water,’ Barlow told a joint hearing of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee and the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources. …Barlow lauded the Senate for passing the bill and said she hopes the House will follow suit.”
And in March 2011, the Burlington Free Press reported, “In the first cases involving Vermont’s 2008 groundwater protection law, an state Environmental Court judge has ruled that regulators must take additional steps to consider the impact on groundwater when reviewing projects with a potential to pollute.”
Barlow and the Council of Canadians are now working for similar groundwater protections and a ban on fracking in Canada, http://canadians.org/water/issues/fracking/index.html. To sign our petition, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2011/fracking.html.