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States Scramble to Regulate Fracking

Repost from Pew Center May 9th, 2012

Vermont lawmakers last week made an emphatic statement on the issue of fracking: Not in our state, at least not yet.

In the final vote of its legislative session, the state’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would make Vermont the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method used to extract natural gas stored in shale deposits. The practice, commonly known as fracking, involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and toxic chemicals deep into wells, freeing the gas.

Vermont doesn’t have any proven natural gas reserves, but geologists say that a shale formation in the state’s northwest corner is similar to the gas-rich shale across the border in the Canadian province of Quebec. The possibility that the state sits atop some natural gas adds meaning to a vote on an issue that’s been hotly debated across the country and has grown increasingly politicized.

This year alone, 24 states have considered at least 127 bills dealing specifically with hydraulic fracturing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least seven states have enacted regulatory laws, although none is as strict as the one in Vermont. Meanwhile, rule making continues at the agency level in several other states.  Proposed rules deal with a range of issues, including chemical disclosure, protection of water quality and fees on the industry.

Click here for more information:  Pew Center (Stateline.org) states scramble to regulate fracking

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