Vermont is the first state to ban fracking, but the catch is they have no drilling projects underway nor may not even have any underground reserves.
Despite all of that, Gov. Peter Shumlin nonetheless signed the ban into law this week.
“We don’t know that we don’t have natural gas in Vermont,” Shumlin said, adding the measure “will ensure we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy.”
“One of the biggest challenges that future generations are going to face is clean, drinkable water,” he added. “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.”
The Vermont law also bans the importation and storage of wastewater associated with fracking.
Fracking involves the high-pressure injection of a mixture of water and chemicals deep underground to blast apart shale rock to release natural gas.
Opponents say fracking has contaminated groundwater and triggered earthquakes, though the energy industry maintains that environmental concerns are not scientifically sound and tapping shale gas reserves is critical to national energy security.
The American Petroleum Institute wrote to Shumlin last week, saying the bill may be subject to constitutional challenge.
New York currently has a moratorium on fracking, which environmental groups have lobbied Gov. Andrew Cuomo to turn into a statewide ban.