Image courtesy of Resources for the Future

Vermont doesn’t have any oil and gas production. And it’s not likely to anytime soon.

Six wells were drilled in the New England state between 1957 and 1984, at depths from 2,300 feet to 6,968 feet. But none resulted in any production.

Even so, last year Vermont became the first state to enact a total ban on fracking. It was signed into law by Gov. Peter Shumlin, who said he hoped the ban would be an example for other states.

While others haven’t banned fracking outright, those with oil and gas production have imposed some controls on the development of shale resources.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing, uses high-pressure injection of water and chemicals into the strata to split rock apart and release natural gas or oil. Environmentalists object, saying it can pollute ground water.

California passed the nation’s most stringent fracking rules in September.

Maryland’s fracking moratorium is set to expire in June 2014.

North Carolina has had a longstanding ban on horizontal drilling. A 2012 law allowed horizontal drilling in principle but there won’t be any until a regulatory framework is in place.

Local governments about eight states have moved against shale gas development bans or moratoria.

Two New York courts and one in Pennsylvania have upheld local ordinances that ban development.

In West Virginia, a court struck down a similar local ordinance.

In Colorado, the city of Longmont passed a ban on hydraulic fracturing, which is being challenged in court by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

In states regulating shale gas production, rules are variously directed at well spacing, setback requirements, pre-drilling water testing, casing and cementing depth, cement types and circulation, water withdrawal, waste water storage and disposal, excess gas disposal, among other things.

A comprehensive comparison of shale gas regulations by the states was published this year by the think tank, Resources for the Future, available in pdf here.


Leave a Reply