While we were all distracted by the possibility that New York State will allow fracking for natural gas, two big milestones in the battle to restrict the notoriously environmentally destructive process arrived on successive days:

New Jersey bans fracking

On June 29, New Jersey became the first state in the Union whose legislature passed a ban on fracking. The vote was overwhelming: After the New Jersey House passed the measure back in March, the state Senate passed it Wednesday with an overwhelming 33-1 vote.

Predictably, fossil fuel industry front group Energy in Depth is urging governor Christie to veto the bill. But unlike his recent veto of the state's "millionaire's tax," the fracking ban appears to have more than enough support in both houses to survive even if Christie is true to form and decides to be a dick.

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New Jersey has hardly any shale deposits to be fracked for gas, but that's hardly the point: Both opponents and advocates of the measure believe this will lead to further restrictions on fracking nation-wide.

France bans it, too

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Not to be outdone, yesterday France's parliament passed a ban on fracking, as well. This is a big deal, because France's shale deposits are "potentially some of the most promising in Europe." Something tells us tearing up France's picturesque, ultra-productive farming regions and replacing them with a Spindletop-style forest of drilling rigs would have been a mistake, on balance (but think of the rainbows!). Luckily, the parliament thought so, too.