On March 28, 2012, over 250 local activists, community members, and legislators filled the ballroom at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier to join a discussion on the implications of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” for natural gas in Vermont. VPIRG co-hosted a public forum alongside VNRC, and 350.org bringing International, and local experts to tell their stories. The panelist included Bill McKibben – author, environmentalist and Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College, Paul Burns – Executive Director, VPIRG, Wes Gillingham – Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeepers, a leading anti-fracking group in NY, Tracy Bach – Professor of Law, Vermont Law School, and Ginny Lyons – Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
That same day the Senate Natural Resources and Energy committee began deliberating important legislation (H.464) that would make Vermont the first state in the nation to ban the practice of fracking for natural gas. If you missed the forum, check out the video here:[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/40516991[/vimeo]
The legislation (H.464) was first introduced into the House Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources Committee as a ban. Later the Committee decided to weaken the bill into a 3 year moratorium. Thanks to strong leadership in the Senate, the bill was turned back into a ban, and passed the Senate with a 27-1 vote in favor. The House will be deciding whether or not to concur with the Senate’s decision to enact a ban, or weaken the legislation to what they had previously voted on. Our elected officials are deliberating on this important legislation as we speak, email your Representative and ask them to support H.464 as amended by the Senate!