Quantcast

Never Say Never: Maryland Fracking Moratorium Becomes Law

Energy

“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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Dakota Access pipeline being built in Iowa. Carl Wycoff / CC BY 2.0

The fight between the Standing Rock Sioux and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline is back on, as the tribe opposes a pipeline expansion that it argues would increase the risk of an oil spill.

Read More Show Less
Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague, on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. NIAID / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Milk made from almonds, oats and coconut are among the healthiest alternatives to cow's milk. triocean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.

Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.

Read More Show Less
Greta Thunberg stands aboard the catamaran La Vagabonde as she sets sail to Europe in Hampton, Virginia, on Nov. 13. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist whose weekly school strikes have spurred global demonstrations, has cut short her tour of the Americas and set sail for Europe to attend COP25 in Madrid next month, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
The Lake Delhi Dam in Iowa failed in 2010. VCU Capital News Service / Josh deBerge / FEMA

At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.

Read More Show Less