BAN ON FRACKING: VERMONT: First in the Nation!

BAN ON FRACKING: VERMONT: First in the Nation!

Postby Oscar » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:20 am

Council of Canadians calls on premiers to take Vermont’s lead and ban fracking

MEDIA RELEASE For Immediate Release June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012 - Following Vermont’s ban on hydraulic fracturing last month, the Council of Canadians has written to the premiers of the provinces and territories across Canada asking that they follow suit. “Last month, the state of Vermont took action to protect water sources and to curb demands on fossil fuels. Provincial governments should do the same thing,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.

On May 16, 2012, the State of Vermont passed Bill H.464, an Act relating to hydraulic fracturing wells for natural gas and oil production, and became the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is a process used to extract natural gas from harder to access unconventional sources trapped in rock formations such as shale gas, coal bed methane and tight gas. Sand, water and chemicals are blasted at high pressure to fracture rock where natural gas is trapped.

Communities across Canada have demanded bans and moratoriums on fracking because of its potential to pollute water, harm human health, produce high carbon emissions and cause earthquakes. A recent Environics Research poll found that 62% of Canadians support “a moratorium on all fracking for natural gas until all the federal environmental reviews are complete.”

As stated in media reports, Governor of Vermont Peter Shumlin has stated that: "Human beings survived for thousands and thousands of years without oil and natural gas,” adding that “we have never known humanity or life on this planet to survive without clean water."

The Council of Canadians' open letters urge each premier to “take leadership in Canada by banning hydraulic fracturing” as well as the treatment, collection and storage of fracking wastewater.

The Council of Canadians’ letter to premiers can be read at


For more information:

Maryam Adrangi, Energy Campaigner, The Council of Canadians:, 604-762-0536

Emma Lui, Water Campaigner, The Council of Canadians:, 613-298-8792

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Vermont Legislature passes prohibition on “fracking”

by Press Release | May 4, 2012

For immediate release May 4, 2012

Contact: Jordan Gonda, VNRC, 814-777-0152 or

Action is First in the Nation

Montpelier, Vt — Vermont lawmakers have approved legislation prohibiting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in the state of Vermont.

“Smart, prudent and protective, that’s what this is,” said Jordan Gonda, a spokesperson for VNRC who tracked the bill closely and testified in support of it.

Gonda noted that lawmakers took significant testimony on this issue and had wisely decided to prohibit this environmentally risky practice in Vermont. Lawmakers had considered a three-year moratorium on the practice, but ultimately opted for a prohibition.

Vermont is the first state in the nation to approve an outright ban on fracking.

Gonda noted that a future legislature could lift the prohibition if lawmakers felt the industry has shown the practice to be safe.

“There is nothing barring the gas industry from coming to the legislature any time and lobbying to lift the prohibition,” she said.

The bill also bans the storage, collection or treatment of fracking waste in Vermont.

Fracking involves forcing a mixture of chemicals, significant amounts of water and sand into bedrock to create fissures and release natural gas. The practice, which has been only lightly regulated in many other states, has contaminated groundwater and increased air pollution. There are also issues related to the disposal of used fracking water that is laced with chemicals and brine. Additionally, recent studies have shown a possible association between fracking wells and the frequency of earthquakes.

Two-thirds of Vermonters get their drinking water from groundwater sources.

The bill, H.464, got final legislative approval on May 4. The bill now heads to Gov. Shumlin’s desk.

Posted in Press Releases | Tagged fracking ban, H. 464, Jordan Gonda, Vermont Natural Resources Council

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Bill H.464 as passed:

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International opposition to fracking

By Emma Lui, Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

As people across Canada fight fracking in their communities, it is inspiring to know that there is a thriving international movement fighting fracking along side them. The following statement was signed by nearly 100 organizations from France, Spain, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and other countries around the world at the People’s Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Statement of Anti-fracking groups at the Cupula Dos Povos

June 22nd 2012, Rio de Janeiro

For a Future without Fracking!

Gathered in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday 22nd June 2012 during the Peoples’ Summit, we, activists and campaigners engaged in the struggle against shale gas and shale coal and shale oil from around the world, including France, Spain, the United States, Canada (& Quebec), Australia, New Zealand and other countries, affirm our determination, our categorical opposition against all extraction of shale gas and shale oil and every use of hydraulic fracturing and other associated extractive industries such as frack-sand mining on our territories.

As many examples indicate in the United States, Canada, England and elsewhere, the exploitation of shale gas has lead to countless cases of chemical and toxic pollution, violations of human rights, health consequences for the populations, the wasting of drinking water, destroying lands, earthquakes, hazardous air pollutants leading to poor air quality and major greenhouse gas emissions. In order to deal with the energy crisis, fracking is not only being promoted as a method to transition to a low carbon energy mix, but is one of the “false solutions” of the Green Economy.

We reject shale and coal seam gas & shale oil here and everywhere, today and tomorrow.

We must substantially reduce our reliance on dirty, non-renewable sources of energy and call on our governments to invest in the deployment of energy efficiency and support the development of clean, renewable sources of energy alternatives.

Following the civil society mobilisations, especially the protests of local people most directly concerned, victory has been gained across the world with hydraulic fracturing being forbidden in hundreds of places on our planet.

To amplify these mobilisations, we engage ourselves to:

· Reinforcing the coordination of our actions at international level;

· Strengthen the alliances and solidarity between international, national and local movements;

· Work on a process at the international level to hold frackers legally accountable;

· Coordinate a global joint calendar;

· Build a day of international mobilisation as well as supporting all national action days against fracking.

Signatories in Rio:

Gabriella Zanzanaini (Food & Water Europe), Maxime Combes (Attac France), Samuel Martin-Sosa (Ecologistas en Accion, Spain), Vincent Espagne (Collectif Plaines du Languedoc, France), Darcey O’Callaghan (Food & Water Watch, USA), Jacqueline Balvet (ATTAC France), Terran Giacomini (Friends of the Earth Canada), Terisa Turner (Friends of the Earth Canada, Ecosocialist Horizons), Patrick Bonin (Association Québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique – AQLPA, Québec) Antonelle Risso, Mariann Lloyd-Smith (National Toxics Network, Australia), Fanny Simon (Aitec, France), Juliette Renaud (Amis de la Terre, France), ACSUR-Las Segovias (Spain), OMAL (Spain), Ekologistak Martxan (Basque Country), ISF (Spain), Alianza “¿Economía Verde? ¡Futuro imposible!” (Spain), Polaris Institute (Canada), Shiney Varghese (Institute For Agriculture and Trade Policy, IATP, USA), Michel Lambert (ALTERNATIVES, Canada), Nathalie Seguin (Freshwater Action Network), Beatrice Olivastri (Friends of the Earth Canada, Canada), Elizabeth Peredo Beltran (Campaña Octubre Azul, Bolivia), Antonio Tricarico (Re:Common, Italy), Mary Church (Friends of the Earth Scotland, UK), Romain Porcheron (Friends of the Earth, France), Hector de Prado (Amigos de la Tierra, Spain) Paul de Clerk (Friends of the Earth Europe), Rebecca Sommer (Earth Peoples International), René Lachapelle (Groupe d’économie solidaire du Québec – GESQ, Québec), Diego di Risio (Observatorio Petrolero Sur, Argentina), Maryam Adrangi (Council of Canadians, Canada), Lyda Fernanda Forero (TNI), Anabela Lemos (JA!Justiça Ambiental/ FOE Moçambique) National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Danilo Urrea (CENSAT-Amigos de la Tierra, Colombia), Palle Bendsen (NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark, Denmark), Oilwatch Sudamerica,

Supporting Organisations:

Dr. Kathleen Burns (Sciencecorps, USA), Ted Schettler (Science and Environmental Health Network, USA), Alberto Zoratti (Fairwatch, Italy), Dr Meriel Watts (Pesticide Action Network, Aotearoa New Zealand), Judith Robinson (Environmental health Fund, USA), Divine Ntiokam, Cameroon, Morna Cornell (Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology & Research, South Africa), Ko van Huissteden (Stichting Schaliegasvrij Nederland, the Netherlands), Gary Cranston (Climate Justice Aotearoa, New Zealand), Soumya Dutta (Beyond Copenhagen Collective, India), Vijay Pratap (South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy, India), Ajay Jha (Public Advocacy Initiative for Rights & Values in India), Marion Heap (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Ian Perrin ( - South Africa), Carl Piper (Heaven or sHell, Sweden), (Climate Justice Taranaki, New Zealand), Richard Moore (Los Jardines Institute, USA), Ted Glick (Chesapeake Climate Action Network, USA), Paul Kaufman (Green Faith, USA), Georgina Shanley (CURE- Citizens United for Renewable Energy, USA), (Harmony with our Planet, USA) Maya van Rossum (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, USA) Judy Braiman (Empire State Consumer Project, Inc., USA), Serge Fortier, Regroupement interrégional sur les gaz de schiste de la Vallée du St-Laurent (RIGSVSL), Mike Buckthought (Ecology Ottawa, Canada) Lucie Sauvé (Collectif scientifique sur la question du gaz de schiste au Québec et Centre de recherche en éducation relative à l’environnement et à l’écocitoyenneté de l’UQAM), Karen Tam Wu (ForestEthics, Canada), Christian Simard (Nature Québec), Johanne Dion (Fondation Rivières, Canada), Les Ami(e)s du Richelieu, Canada, Mikael Rioux (Échofête, Canada), Michel Fugère (Mouvement vert Mauricie, Canada), Philippe Giroul (Mouvement Sortons le Québec du Nucléaire - MSQN), Martin Poirier et Stéphane Poirier (NON à une marée noire dans le St-Laurent, Québec), Amanda Nesheiwat (New Jersey Sustainable Collegiate Partners, USA), Lois Marie Gibbs (Center for Health, Environment & Justice, USA), Clare Donohue (Sane Energy Project, USA), Dana Patterson (Edison Wetlands Association, USA), Wanda Guthrie (Environmental Justice Committee, USA), Lynn Carroll (TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, USA), Residents Against Fracking Tioga (USA), Coalition to Protect New York (USA), FrackBustersNY (USA), SAVE Spencer-Van Etten (New York USA), Cecile Lawrence, USA, Stewards of the Land, USA, Ben Wiley (Davidson, USA), John P. Duffy Jr. (Duffernutter Photography, USA), Kathy Maher (Bus for Progress, USA), Jenny Lisak (Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, USA), Edward Nizalowski (Newark Valley, USA), Abram Loeb (Frack Free New York, USA), Frack Free Nation, Inc., USA, Kaye Lindsay (Frack-Free Aotearoa NZ - Canterbury Branch, New Zealand), Stephanie Merrill (CCNB Action, Canada), Barbara Heywood, BARTON, NY USA, D.E. Bassett, Ph.D, USA, Joellen Lundy (NJFC, USA), Rhoda Schermer (North Jersey Public Policy Network, USA), Terri Supowitz (Pittsburg, USA), Boyce Thorne Miller (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, USA), Bruno Herail (Le Mas Gauzin, France)

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More fracking and faster’ is a dangerous approach

By Emma Lui June 18, 2012

Margaret Wente’s argument
[ ... ice=mobile ]
for ‘more fracking and faster’ represents a dangerously narrow approach to economic development and addressing Canada’s energy needs.

In addition to price and availability, we need to carefully assess the risks of fracking including the potential for water contamination, high lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, links between earthquakes and injection of fracking wastewater into the ground, the lack of regulations legally requiring public disclosure of chemicals and the lack of information on the cumulative impacts of fracking on public health and our environment.

Federal, Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia governments have begun reviews on fracking precisely because they don’t know enough about it. 62% of Canadians support a moratorium on all fracking for natural gas until all federal environmental reviews are complete.

Considering risks and community opposition, we need a ban on fracking or at the very least a moratorium.

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“Don’t frack with our water” workshop at Our World, Our Responsibility Conference

By Emma Lui, Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Andrew Nikiforuk, the keynote speaker for Our World, Our Responsibility: Translating Knowledge Into Action, opened the day’s conference by giving an in-depth and engaging presentation on the Alberta tar sands. Three hundred people, mostly students, packed themselves into a lecture theatre at the University of Toronto Scarborough to learn about Canada’s largest and dirtiest energy project.

Nikiforuk, author of Tar Sands Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, showed powerful images of protests against the Northern Gateway pipeline, the tar sands themselves and the pristine landscapes threatened by tar sands development and pipelines that will transport the bitumen to China.

The author and journalist provided context to the tar sands debate by pointing to our current’s government narrow focus on economic development to the detriment of the public’s health and protection of the natural environment including our water sources. He listed Stephen Harper alongside other ‘petropoliticians’ including Russia’s Vladamir Putin and the US’ George Bush Sr. He left the students with several key messages including the need to demand a national debate about the pace and scale of tar sands development and the importance of the students taking action to protect our natural environment.

The following segment included a series of workshops on topics such as hydraulic fracturing, small scale farming, environmental activism, youth leadership and employment in the environmental field. I gave the workshop on hydraulic fracturing called “Don’t frack with our water.” I had a roomful of about 40 people, mostly students, and many of whom had never heard of fracking before but were very interested in the issue.

I spoke about the threat fracking posed to our water sources, the lack of compulsory disclosure on the chemicals used, the links between earthquakes and injection of fracking wastewater into the ground and the demand by the majority of Canadians for a moratorium on fracking until federal reviews are complete.

The students participated in activities that considered the myths put forward by gas companies, the government’s duty to protect water for current and future generations, residents’ concerns, principles included in First Nations water declarations and water activists’ positions.

The group was very engaged with the issue. Their final comments included the importance of having forums like this to learn about the issues, speak with others and discuss ways forward. While it’s critical to protect water sources for our future generations, it’s equally important to teach future generations the importance of and how to protect water sources themselves.

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ERNST: Talk About Fracking! ... php?t=1129

Published in Wadena News on February 8, 2012

What's Fracking? In many places, the earth beneath our feet!

Almost overnight, many people in Alberta, throughout the United States, many places in BC and eastern Canada, have heard seismic testing, then had drill rigs operating in sight of their homes.

Speaking at St. Peter's College in Muenster on Saturday (January 28), Jessica Ernst showed photos of the fracking just outside her Rosebud Alberta window. That fracking continues.

Ernst has documented the aquifer pathway to her gas-contaminated water. Her water was good; then it caused skin burns, small explosions, nausea, fear. Now she has an hour drive (and truck and tank) to haul her water.

She explained all the ways "There's a Hole in Their Story", such as industry and government attempts to avoid her evidence (along with many citizens' claims of water contamination, animal losses, disruption, noise pollution, health risks and uncertainties).

Huge amounts of water and poisonous chemicals are used to explode underground shale deposits to release oil or natural gas. After hydraulic fracturing - fracking - people discover tapwater and aquifer contamination. Small earthquakes and serious air pollution occur in fracking areas.

Having worked as an Encana consultant, Jessica Ernst couldn't continue seeing cover-ups and denials from the inside, while neighbours asked: What is Encana (and Cenovus Energy) doing in our area? She resigned, September 2004. It turns out the company was experimenting in her area with drilling technology they hoped would penetrate and pass through an aquifer safely. It didn't. Now her drinking water can be ignited! Ms Ernst's flaming water isn't the only scary part.

The company had not bothered to tell people what they were trying to do, let alone ask for approval.

If you are the company team that put the plan into action (or then-CEO of Encana, Gwyn Morgan), it would be difficult to let go of your theory, to acknowledge proof of the harm you have done.

Denial is understandable but not acceptable.


Very few property owners have mineral rights, apparently. According to antiquated Mining Acts in most of North America, exploration/mining has all the rights; we have very few.

Realizing how great the hazards are (complicated by many unknowns), several countries, states, provinces, municipalities, are banning fracking outright. Some have imposed a moratorium until real risks are understood.

Observing the Precautionary Principle is the only safe and sensible approach. In places already harmed, the picture is grim. People wanting to sell land or homes are unable, because of noise, water, air contamination. Where damage hasn't happened yet, let's learn from others how to achieve a moratorium. Prevention is the only remedy.

Some claim we need shale gas to meet world energy needs (and 'solve' our climate crisis). But it is well known that profits/benefits go mainly to industry stakeholders, while local residents and the environment bear enormous costs - loss of drinking water, loss of enjoying one's property, deteriorating health, loss of livelihood.

We understand the need for fuel, and appreciate engineering skills of solving complex problems, eg. designing ways "to force the tight oil and gas to let go" by high-power injection of chemical fluids (some carcinogenic such as hexavalent chromium), using huge amounts of sand and billions of gallons of water per site. We understand some of the conflicts of people who feel forced (even prefer) to work in Oil & Gas industries.

What we don't understand is the full-speed-ahead, damn-the-consequences greed of the rampage we witness.

What would an honest, respectful, approach be?

There is no way your home, my home, our enjoyment and care of property, should be trumped by industry caring for little but shareholder dividends.

We and our Municipal Councils should be very cautious about any signs of hydraulic fracturing. Each area of our province and country should formalize an effective moratorium - at least until real risks and benefits can be determined.

Bill Curry/Elaine Hughes
Quill Plains Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Wynyard, SK
Site Admin
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