MONTPELIER, Vt., May 8 (UPI) -- The potential threat to drinking water in Vermont is too great to consider exploitation of natural gas by way of hydraulic fracturing, a state lawmaker said.
The Vermont state Assembly passed a measure that would ban hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking.
State Sen. Ginny Lyons, a Democrat, said there were too many risks associated with fracking to let the practice go forward in Vermont.
"We do have some deposits, shale deposits in the northwestern part of the state and possibly in the southern part of the state," she was quoted by Vermont Public Radio as saying. "As this kind of exploration goes on it results, possibly results, in significant problems with the drinking water safety. So it could affect ground water, as well as surface water."
The United States holds some of the richest deposits of shale natural gas in the world, and much of it is locked in the Midwest region. Critics of fracking see some of the chemicals used in the process as a threat to water supplies, though practitioners say the process is safe if done correctly.
Republican lawmakers in the state objected to an outright ban, saying there may be some economic benefits from shale gas. Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, has said he'd sign the measure, however.
Once approved, Vermont would become the first state to ban fracking.