Quantcast
Energy

Never Say Never: Maryland Fracking Moratorium Becomes Law

“You’ll never get a fracking moratorium through the Maryland Legislature” was the common refrain I heard as we at Food & Water Watch joined with more than 100 groups from throughout the state to work on preventing fracking in Maryland. But we didn’t let that stop us. And today, thanks to the tireless efforts of business owners, health professionals, activists and countless concerned Maryland residents, we proved those naysayers wrong.

At the end of March, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that would prohibit any permits for fracking in the state for two and a half years. Photo credit: Food & Water Watch

Today, a two and a half year fracking moratorium became law in Maryland. Over Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Hogan let it be known that he would not veto the bill. At the end of March, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill, originally introduced by Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo and Senator Karen Montgomery, which would prohibit any permits for fracking in the state for two and a half years. The bill passed with veto-proof majorities in each house.

This critical moratorium was made possible by a coalition of more than 100 community and advocacy groups who don’t want to see Maryland fracked. The Don’t Frack Maryland Coalition worked throughout the 2015 legislative session to carry the message that Marylanders do not want fracking in their state. The organizing efforts of the coalition came in waves over several months.

More than 100 Maryland health professionals had expressed concern about the unknown long-term health effects of fracking on human and environmental health. The evidence for the potential short and long-term health effects continues to grow. In fact, two new studies were published just this month, one showing that air-pollution from fracking in neighboring Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia has contaminated the air across state lines into Maryland and other areas, and the other found a chemical commonly used in drilling in Pennsylvania drinking water. The health risks alone are enough to want to press the pause button on fracking, but it didn’t stop there.

More than 100 Western Maryland business owners and more than 50 restaurant owners, chefs, winemakers and farmers from across the state also came together to voice their concerns about how fracking would impact their livelihoods. The risks to local business of allowing fracking in Maryland far outweigh the potential profits of out-of-state gas companies. The gas industry will decimate formerly rural and pristine areas by marring landscapes with service roads, roaring fracking rigs and leveled foliage replaced by well pads. Existing industries that are vital to the growing, long-term economy of Western Maryland, such as tourism, agriculture, organic farming, hunting, fishing and second homes, are likely to decline as these industries are not compatible with an industrial landscape. Not to mention the threat of water, air and land contamination. The Baltimore Sun even editorialized, “There's simply no reason for Maryland to embrace such a risk to health, safety or livelihood right now.”

The Don’t Frack Maryland Coalition even had some help from a celebrity. A radio ad recorded by actor and Maryland native, Edward Norton, targeted the Governor to sign the bill. All of these efforts combined, brought us to where we are now.

The fact that Governor Hogan, who comes from a political party that routinely panders to the oil and gas industry, felt so much political pressure to prevent fracking from entering his state at this time, is a sign that the movement to protect against the dangers of fracking is growing stronger and gaining momentum. Protecting the health, safety and livelihoods of the people is not a partisan issue, and this moratorium is a sign that the tide is changing on fracking.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Joins Farmers and Ranchers to Call on Gov. Brown to Reject LNG Exports

It’s Official: Texas Prohibits Local Fracking Bans

Judge Says No to Fracking

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Renewable Energy
Storage solutions, such as Tesla's Powerwall domestic battery, are "moving from the grid to the garage to the landing at home." Tesla Motors

Battery Storage Revolution Could 'Sound the Death Knell for Fossil Fuels'

If we want to accelerate the world's renewable energy transition, we'll have to modernize the electric grid and we'll need much better batteries. Just look at Germany, which generates so much clean energy on particularly windy and sunny days that electricity prices are often negative.

Sure this is good news for a German person's wallet, but as the New York Times noted, "Germany's power grid, like most others around the world, has not yet adapted to the increasing amounts of renewable energy being produced."

Keep reading... Show less

The Future of Food: 8 Business Leaders Investing to End Slaughterhouses

From Silicon Valley tech moguls to business executives and entrepreneurs, these people know that the future of food means not slaughtering animals.

Keep reading... Show less

Oil Spill Spreading in East China Sea 'Now the Size of Paris'

By Andy Rowell

There are increasing environmental and health concerns surrounding the oil spill in the East China Sea from the Iranian registered tanker, the Sanchi, which sank on Monday carrying 136,000 tons, or one million barrels, of a highly flammable oil mix called condensate.

The tanker had burned for a week before exploding after colliding with another ship on Jan. 6, with all 32 crew now presumed dead or missing.

Keep reading... Show less

‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Highlights Danger of Colorful Laundry Packets

By Samara Geller

An unbelievably dumb and extremely dangerous dare has gone viral on social media. It's the "Tide Pod Challenge": biting down on the small, colorful—and potentially poisonous—packets of liquid laundry detergent until they burst in your mouth. Children, teens and young adults are posting videos of themselves taking the challenge—with the gagging, spitting and coughing that follows.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Arizona lost out on $27 million of revenue during the 2013 government shutdown, with the Grand Canyon alone amounting for $17 million of it. Anna Irene / Flickr

National Parks, Monuments May Remain Open But Unstaffed if Government Shuts Down

You might want to reconsider your plans if you intend to visit a national park this weekend. While the park might be open, there probably won't be any rangers on site, which could pose a serious risk to safety.

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to keep many national parks and monuments open if the government shuts down on Friday, the Washington Post reported. The move is meant to avoid the public outrage sparked by the closure of parks and memorials during the 2013 shutdown.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure

Divers Discover World’s Largest Flooded Cave

Diving enthusiasts, could this be your next great adventure?

Archaeologists and divers with Gran Acuífero Maya (GAM)—a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the Yucatan peninsula—claim to have discovered the world's longest underwater cave just outside of Tulum, Mexico.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Pexels

3 Reasons to Be Hopeful About Our P​lanet in 2018

By Elizabeth Sturcken

Feeling down about our planet in 2018? Don't!

There are many reasons to be hopeful around environmental action in the new year—and if the following developments don't make you feel better, I've prescribed some action steps at the end that are guaranteed to set you on a healthier, happier path.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!