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May 18 News: Vermont Becomes First U.S. State To Ban Fracking

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday signed into law the nation’s first ban on a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground. [Associated Press]

Shumlin said the increased amounts of natural gas obtainable through hydraulic fracturing were not worth the risk to drinking water supplies.

In the coming generation or two, “drinking water will be more valuable than oil or natural gas,” Shumlin said.

“Human beings survived for thousands and thousands of years without oil and without natural gas,” he said. “We have never known humanity or life on this plant to survive without clean water.”

Apple plans to power its main data center entirely with renewable energy by the end of this year, taking steps to address longstanding environmental concerns about the rapid expansion of high-consuming computer server farms. [Guardian]

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An advocacy group blasted Clear Channel Thursday for rejecting an advertisement aimed at countering a controversial Heartland Institute climate change billboard. [The Hill]

Texas saw a 13 percent increase in the amount of energy generated by renewable sources in 2011, according to a new report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for about 85 percent of the state. [CleanTechnica]

Japan’s domestic shipments of solar cells and modules surged 38 percent to 392 megawatts in the first three months of this year, the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association said today. [Bloomberg]