France Bans Fracking; New York Set to Un-Ban It Controversial process extracts natural gas from ground By Kevin Spak, Newser User Posted Jul 1, 2011 2:15 PM CDT 18 comments Comments Fracking opponents protest before the Tom Corbett inauguration to become the 46th governor of Pennsylvania at the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Newser) – France became the first country to ban fracking yesterday—even as reports surfaced that New York was about to lift its de facto moratorium on the controversial practice of extracting natural gas from the earth. The French vote split along party lines, but the opposition largely came from the Socialist Party, which didn’t think the ban went far enough because it contains loopholes that allow the exploitation of oil shale deposits by other means, Scientific American reports. New York, meanwhile, has had an informal ban on the process since 2008, but in a surprise move is expected to lift it soon in most places, CNN reports. Fracking is a means of drilling for natural gas that involves shooting water and chemicals into the ground. New York’s new rules will ban the practice in state parks and watershed areas, but otherwise allow it. Andrew Cuomo’s office is thought to be onboard with the plan, but hasn’t said so publicly.