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Vermont Bans Fracking 278

eldavojohn writes "Vermont is the first state to ban fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a process that was to revolutionize the United States' position into a major producer of natural gas. New York currently has a moratorium on fracking but it is not yet a statewide ban. Video of the signing indicates the concern over drinking water as the motivation for Vermont's measures (PDF draft of legislation). Slashdot has frequently encountered news debating the safety of such practices."
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Vermont Bans Fracking

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  • About time.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:42PM (#40034987)
    A common sense idea made law that goes against the big oil and gas industries? Maybe there is hope after all!
    Its a little old, but here is a good PBS report on the subject fot the lesser informed: []
  • by AG the other ( 1169501 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:44PM (#40035015)

    Cue the lawyers.
    You know if the oil companies think that there is recoverable gas or oil in Vermont the oil companies will try to go after it.

  • by ravenscar ( 1662985 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:45PM (#40035023)

    From this wikipedia article, [], it would appear that VT doesn't have any natural gas reserves to speak of. That makes it easy for them to ban fracking - there isn't any revenue/economy to be built on that effort anyhow. Perhaps Nebraska can outlaw fishing for Chilean Sea Bass. States with large reserves will likely have a harder time taking that leap.

    Note - VT is close to a large reserve so I suppose I could be wrong about how much gas is easily accessible from that location.

  • Re:About time.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:52PM (#40035093)

    I cant believe localized earthquakes in places that never have earthquakes isn't enough to sound any sort of alarm.........

  • by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:02PM (#40035201) Journal

    The article doesn't go into much detail on what specifically is banned. We sometimes use hydraulic and/or pneumatic fracturing for environmental cleanups; of course, only water (or air/nitrogen) are used - generally pretty shallow and only trying to increase transmissivity of sediments, not break up rock. Just wondering if they actually put some thought into it, or just knee-jerk banned all hydraulic fracturing. The technology does have uses besides breaking up shale to extract natural gas.

  • Yeah, Vermont (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:14PM (#40035303)

    They pump toxic chemicals into the water. Despite how deep they drill, what they pump in percolates up to the water supply. And you want more evidence? You'll never be satisfied, Denier.

    Fact is, by doing what the gas companies doing they are STEALING natural gas from under other people's land and polluting other people's water. They have no right to that.

    They've gotten a free ride for too long. They need to be stopped and they need to pay for the damages they have already done despite being given immunity by corrupt government officials.

    As to the question of known reserves, because we don't have drilling here yet is all the more reason to ban it before it becomes a problem, they pollute our water and they steal our resources. They could find gas reserves in the future. Easier to close the gate before the horses escape.

    "Cue the lawyers."

    Aye, and they'll waste a lot of money on lawyers as Vermont ties them up in the courts they own. Even if they were to win in Federal court then Vermont would make their lives miserable. Entergy found that out. They "won" and then appealed their own "win" when they found out it Fskd them further. On top of that Vermont added a new $12 million dollar tax on their heads and increased other costs for them. There is more than one way to skin a Big Corp.

    Actually, we pronounce it "No Frickin Frackin" here in Vermont.

  • Re:About time.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:26PM (#40035419)

    I'm in PA, which is not hostile to fracking.

    In general I am "pro" fracking - even given some health and environmental effects, you have to weigh it against the effects of coal mining and oil drilling.

    My main concern is that the fracking chemicals are considered a trade secret and so are not disclosed. The broader scientific community has no good way of evaluating the chemicals that are frequently used, and I think that does a disservice to everyone involved.

    My other problem is a political one - our state does not make any money when the gas is extracted. I think a fee should be charged and that the money should go to a contingency fund (in case this fracking thing needs cleanup afterall...) that after, say, 30 years could dump into the state treasury. Other money should go into an infrastructure fund - the state should benefit in the long-term from resources extracted inside of it.

  • Re:About time.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:33PM (#40036153) Journal

    Then the fracking is doing you a favor. They're not pumping with enough energy to actually run an earthquake, so the only plausible mechanism is that the tracking fluid is acting as a lubricant and allowing the geology to relieve some accumulated stress.

    In other words, fracking is actually preventing "the big one."

  • Re:About time.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @10:22PM (#40036941)
    Just out of curiousity, you realize your argument reads like a communist manifesto right? That communism would work great if it was just done right! It's like expecting large banks to always do the right thing and using that as an argument to lift regulations that were put in place because large banks lost large sums of money causing a great depression. When human nature does one thing and you set a system up expecting it do something different you can't be surprised that some bad men took advantage of small towns with struggling economies and rendered them wastelands much like pre-EPA America.
  • Re:About time.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frangible ( 881728 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:08PM (#40037209)
    Sorry, but the burden of proof is on he who is fracking things up. And a lack of data does not indicate safety, either.

    Before fracking as we know it today was commercially viable, under the "Plowshares" program, nuclear bombs were detonated to stimulate the release of natural gas. They included Project Rio Blanco and Project Rusilon in Colorado, and Project Gasbuggy in New Mexico.

    For the most part, this was not a successful venture. Rio Blanco, a test which used three bombs in close proximity, failed entirely. Rusilon and Gasbuggy succeeded -- Rusilon especially -- but as you probably correctly guessed already, the gas was radioactive and unmarketable.

    But, all the plans required careful designs for preventing the release of contamination to a degree no one has to live up to with modern fracking.

    Now, pull up Google Earth and look at 39.405278, -107.948528 . This is the where the Rusilon device was detonated in Colorado. Now start zooming out and panning around. You will note a great deal of little patches of concrete and dirt in the area. These are natural gas wells. The DOE is still accountable for making sure no radioactive contamination from Rusilon ever gets out.

    So what you see here is someone taking advantage of mysterious, conveniently rich and abundant quantities of natural gas suddenly found in this region in the last 40 years. But none of it's directly contaminated by the Rusilon test. Either the isotopes have decayed or secondary effects from the blast unrelated to contamination resulted in long-term changes to the region. The water quality in the Rusilon area has been extensively monitored, so at least that was not affected here.

    But the point is, I can state things definitely here because the DOE has spent millions watching these sites like a hawk. And even the most minute traces of radioactive contamination can be detected, because it is its own radioactive tracer.

    Can anyone say the same about modern fracking? Who's going to be watching modern fracking sites in 40 years? Who's making sure the secondary long-term effects upon region geology don't negatively impact others?

    I'm not arguing for detonating nukes for natural gas production, I think it's a dumb idea, but these tests have shown long-term effects upon area geology caused by the blast effects alone, which while not negative in these three cases, certainly have the potential to be, no matter what force of nature you're relying on to frack things up for you.

    And then there's the contamination. And you have to use a lot more fracking stuff to stimulate the same amount of natural gas production as a couple kilograms of plutonium. That equates to injecting a lot of fracking crap in the ground. No monitoring, no testing, changes to area geology, no half-life that it will decay in... do you think every fracking site out there is going to sequester things away forever?

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.