Hydraulic fracking is the process by which natural gas companies extract gas from shale through the use of chemicals under high pressure. These chemicals contaminate water to the point where people can literally set their water on fire while it is running through the faucet. The chemicals threaten natural water supplies such as aquifers, waterways, and lakes. The drilling and pressure have been linked to earthquake activity in several states such as in Ohio. On Wednesday, Vermont became the first state in the country to ban fracking.
Governor Peter Shumlin (D) signed the legislation known as H464 in on Wednesday afternoon. Shumlin noted that “This bill will ensure we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy.”
The bill was championed by Democrats in the state legislature and continues Vermont’s commitment to protecting the environment. Natural gas companies contend that the law is bad policy against what they call a safe procedure for extracting gas from the ground. But that’s hard to believe when homeowners are able to light their water on fire after natural gas companies begin injecting chemicals into the ground that end up in the water supply.
In what has become a desperate bid for them to remain rich and relevant, the oil and gas industry is willing to sacrifice America’s clean drinkable freshwater resources to squeeze what little gas they can find out of the rocks underground. It’s a process that has real consequences, both for the environment and the health of Americans. What good is a little extra fuel if we no longer have a clean water supply? A viable water supply is far more important than the small amounts of natural gas we can get out of the ground. Natural gas will not solve our energy problem. Vermont understands this and they should be saluted for taking a stand against a harmful and practically useless process that poisons our environment and threatens the health and survival of our families while giving us nearly nothing in return. We can only hope that other states follow suit in the effort to protect America’s water resources and the many people who drink from them every day. Until then, environmentalists and clean energy advocates can enjoy this victory, which is hopefully the first of many.