Vermont First to Ban Fracking
...Not that there was any fracking going on
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2012 12:32 PM CDT
A woman holds a sign during a New Yorkers Against Fracking rally at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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(Newser) – Vermont became the first state in the union to ban fracking yesterday, in what would be a landmark moment if any fracking were actually going on there. There was no drilling taking place in Vermont, no plans to drill, and no indication that there was even gas to drill for, the Burlington Free Press reports, but activists and progressives celebrated anyway. "This is a big deal," Gov. Peter Shumlin said after signing the ban. "We don't know that we don't have natural gas in Vermont."

"I think it helps our cause tremendously," said one environmental activist. And indeed, the idea could spread; the bill's co-sponsor says Michigan lawmakers have contacted him for advice on creating their own ban. The energy industry isn't taking it lightly either; the American Petroleum Institute has warned Vermont that it may challenge the law as unconstitutional, citing the commerce clause and the supremacy clause—though Vermont believes they're unlikely to succeed.
 

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