NEW YORK (Sputnik) — A national law to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would decimate the US natural gas industry, former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. told Sputnik.
"If you passed a national ban, this industry would go away and it would be harder for us to get to our place of transition on clean energy and climate," Ritter said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit.
In addition to an outright national ban on fracking, Ritter raised concerns over US government efforts to "regulate that industry out of business in places where there are big plays."
Efforts have been made across the United States to ban or restrict fracking. In Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio the state legislatures attempted to heavily regulate fracking, which would restrict industry access to the large Marcellus shale stretching across those states.
"Personally, I think local governments should have a big part to play in the permitting process, but should not ultimately be able to ban it," Ritter argued. He cited the ongoing state Supreme Court case addressing whether it is lawful for local communities in Colorado to ban fracking.
The practice of fracking has led to an abundance of natural gas glut in the United States. Environmental activists and some policymakers claim that fracking leads to water contamination.
"I believe that with a good set of regulations, with good enforcement, with good compliance on the part of the industry, it [fracking for natural gas] can be a part of a clean energy future," Ritter said.
He added that as a result of global climate change and the carbon load on the atmosphere, "There will be a day…where we are going to have to turn down the spigot on natural gas as well."