Vermont First State to Ban Fracking

Vermont, the New England state known for maple syrup, picturesque mountains and historic farms, now claims the title as the first state in the nation to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Exempted from the national Clean Water Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act, the booming fracking industry has often left states scrambling for their own regulatory devices, often against great political opposition and typically somewhat after the fact.

Taking precaution from nearby states like New York and Pennsylvania, states that have a deep and often volatile relationship with fracking given the rich natural gas deposits found in the Marcellus and Utica shale reserves, Vermont has decided to bypass a moratorium and instate a full-out ban on the practice.†Some argue that Vermont could make this decision more easily when compared with other states given local geology; Vermont is not known for its oil and gas reserves, save a Utica shale deposit located in the northwest portion of the state. State geologist Larry Becker commented that “deposits could not have survived the heat and pressure in Vermontís geologic history.”

So, is Vermont just lucky then? Depends on who you talk to. Legislators in Vermont like Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe,†argued that Vermonters might be losing out on a potential revenue source due to the ban, particularly singling out farmers in the state. Given the fact that very little, if any, significant oil and gas reserves exist in the state, it’s unclear how viable Scheuermann’s argument is when compared to the mounting negative side effects of fracking.

Joe Choquette, a lobbyist who represents the†American Petroleum Institute in the Legislature echoed Scheuermann’s sentiment saying that he†preferred Vermont gather more data on fracking before deciding on an outright ban. Choquette argued for the EPA, Department of Interior and DOE to complete any national studies before deciding on a ban, however, it’s only been in the past month that the EPA decided to regulate certain airborne particulates related to fracking and even then there’s much more oversight needed.

Others like†Paul Burns, Executive Director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, stated that, ďIím very proud that Vermont will become the first state to ban fracking for natural gas. I think itís a great thing for the protection of Vermontís critical natural resources, our air, land, water, and to protect public health. And it also sends a very strong message to folks in many other states who are taking on the gas and oil industry.Ē†Burns went on to say that other states, such as New York, have started reaching out to Vermont-based organizations and legislators since the ban in order to learn best practices that could be applied to their state.

Fracking remains a contentious political and environmental issue, particularly among many rural communities in the United States. Serious health concerns, including cancer, skin rashes, headaches†and undrinkable water are also correlated to the industry. While not limited to the United States, fracking has taken off in the past decade in the U.S. and the public is just now learning the serious ramifications of an unregulated business. States like Vermont that decide to follow the precautionary principle, a principle that states that†the burden of proof falls on those promoting the action, is a policy that should be seriously considered by other states, especially in lieu of any significant overarching federal regulation.

Related Stories:

EPA Steps in on Fracking

Natural Gas Fracking the Fossil Fuel Industry’s New Low

Vermont Senate Resolves to Overturn Citizens United

Photo Credit: Doug Kerr from Albany, NY


DORIS L.3 years ago

I hope all our States ban fracking.

Ajla C.
Past Member 3 years ago


Krista M.
Krista M.4 years ago

I think when we move out of NY, we'll go to VT. We were going to move to Maine,but now i know Vt isn't allowing fracking, I think we'll go there instead. Since the reason we are moving is because of fracking. Thanks VT.I'm, glad there is some place we can go!!!!

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago

Go Vermont!

Craig T.
Craig T.4 years ago

maybe a little science will help

Don Schneider
Don Schneider4 years ago

Allowing the potentially harmful and dangerous practice (fracking) to occur without a study of potential impact on the communities of humans and wildlife in the impact area is absurd ! All for the singular purpose of enriching the holdings of T. Boone Pickens and others such as Halliburton. How ignorant are we as a people to not stand with the state of Vermont ! Do we not remember the record of Halliburton in past environmental fiascos ? Are we so susceptible to the propaganda of the oil and gas industry, that we are willing to forgo the future of our Country for the profits of our "prophets of greed" ? Fracking should be banned in all states now ! Which of our aquifers are we willing to abandon as future sources of drinkable water ?

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Good for them!

Frank Payne
Frank Payne4 years ago

At last some politicians are using their brains. Pity there are not more.

Frank Payne
Frank Payne4 years ago

At last some politicians are using their brains. Pity there are not more.

Sheri P.
Sheri P.4 years ago

YAY Vermont! i LOVE's such a beautiful state.