Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Maryland Passes 2.5 Year Fracking Ban

Energy
Maryland Passes 2.5 Year Fracking Ban

Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation, voting 102 - 34, that would prohibit fracking permits in the state until October 2017. The bill will head to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's desk in the coming days.

After months of campaigning, a bill that prohibits fracking for two and a half years passed overwhelmingly in the Maryland legislature. Photo credit: Don't Frack Maryland

Earlier this week, the Maryland State Senate passed the legislation, voting 45-2, to prohibit fracking permits in the in the state. The governor's position on the bill is unknown, but the Senate and House passed the bill with a veto-proof majority.

“After months of campaigning, a bill that prohibits fracking for two and a half years passed overwhelmingly in the Maryland legislature today," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "This is a testament to the growing movement to protect our communities from the dangers of fracking. Conventional wisdom in the state was that we could never get a moratorium passed in Maryland, just as we were also told we could never get a ban in New York. But naysaying just inspired us all to work harder in bringing the voice of the people to Annapolis in this grassroots initiative. Now it is time for Governor Hogan to heed the call of the people and sign the bill that gives Marylanders more time to examine the impacts of fracking."

Business owners in Western Maryland have expressed concern that fracking would greatly impact the booming tourism industry in that part of the state. More than 100 Western Maryland business owners signed a letter to the leadership of the General Assembly in support of the fracking moratorium.

“Maryland’s more sustainable businesses, like farming, tourism and restaurants would be devastated by fracking," said Eric Robison, owner of Eagle Rock Construction, LLC and president of Save Western Maryland. "We don’t need a short term boom and bust economy, we need to maintain a strong economic foundation for future generations.”

Don’t Frack Maryland has sent more than 25,000 messages supporting a moratorium. Letters signed by more than 100 health professionals, and more than 50 restaurant owners, chefs, winemakers and farmers from across the state have also been delivered to the General Assembly. And last night, the Friendsville Town Council, whose city is the center of a thriving white-water rafting industry in the state, sent a letter supporting a moratorium to President Miller, urging him to encourage a vote in the Senate.

Earlier this week, actor and Maryland native Edward Norton lent his support to the Maryland fracking moratorium in a radio ad. The ad, paid for by Food & Water Watch, features Norton speaking out about how fracking could harm Maryland’s environment and public health, as well as tourism in the state.

Polling has also shown that a clear majority of Marylanders oppose fracking and support action from the General Assembly to prevent drilling in the state.

"This moratorium will give legislators more time to evaluate the public health, economic and societal dangers of fracking, and give our communities statutory protections against drilling in the meantime," said Dr. Ann Bristow, a commissioner on Governor O'Malley's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, on behalf of the Don't Frack Maryland campaign.

According to Food & Water Watch, more than 425 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the effects of shale gas development now exist, and 75 percent of those have been published since January 2013. Of the 49 studies that investigated the health effects of fracking, 47—more than 96 percent—found risks or adverse health outcomes.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Dramatic Increases of Cancer-Causing Radon in PA Homes Linked to Fracking

Fracking’s Most Wanted

Staggering Rise in Fracking Earthquakes Triggers Kansas to Take Action

The western edge of the Greenland ice sheet in West Greenland as seen from the air. Ashley Cooper / Getty Images

As the world's ice sheets melt at an increasing rate, researchers are looking for explanations beyond just a hotter climate. A recent study found one answer may lie in the dust.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests during a "Fridays for Future" protest in front of the Swedish Parliament Riksdagen in Stockholm on October 9. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

By Greta Thunberg

  • Greta Thunberg calls for urgent action to address the climate and ecological crisis.
  • She reminds the world of the promises made to children and grandchildren — a promise they expect to be kept.
  • The proposals being discussed and presented at the moment are 'very far from being enough.'
Read More Show Less

Trending

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less
President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less
Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less