MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont appears on the verge of enacting the nation's first statewide ban of a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing.
The House on Friday overwhelmingly approved a conference committee report calling for the ban. It now goes to the desk of Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has said he takes a dim view of hydraulic fracturing and is expected to sign the measure.
The technique involves injecting water and chemicals into the ground to split rock and release gas.
Critics of the ban say it could hurt economic development in the state, or could prompt a lawsuit from the natural gas industry.
Geologists say Vermont doesn't appear likely to have much natural gas, but there may be some under northwestern Vermont.