By Gina-Marie Cheeseman
France became the first nation to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking in drilling for natural gas and oil on June 30 when French senators voted to ban the practice. Oil and gas companies operating in France with fracking permits will have them revoked according to the legislation passed by a 176 to 151 vote. The bill passed the National Assembly on June 21.
“We are at the end of a legislative marathon that stirred emotion from lawmakers and the public,” French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said late yesterday before the vote. Hydraulic fracturing will be illegal and parliament would have to vote for a new law to allow research using the technique, she said.
France’s fracking ban comes at the same time that the New Jersey State Senate voted to ban the practice, which contaminates drinking water. For a bit of more good news, North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue vetoed a state senate bill that would have allowed fracking in the state.
Jane Preyer, North Carolina’s director of the Environmental Defense Fund praised the veto in North Carolina. “The veto sends a clear signal to legislators that rolling back regulations that protect the state’s environment is not a viable business plan for economic recovery or the well being of North Carolina’s families,” she said. “The veto sends the strong message that North Carolina puts out the welcome map to industries that both create good jobs and respect our natural resources. Hats off to Governor Perdue for the veto.”
Unfortunately, it looks like New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is poised to lift the ban on fracking, the International Business Times (IBT) reports. The state issued new guidelines for fracking that will prohibit fracking in state parks and in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.
New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, an opponent of fracking, said, “If hydrofracking is not safe in the New York City watershed it’s not safe in any watershed,” Lifton said. “There’s a tacit admission on the part of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that it is not safe and yet it is being allowed.”