Legislation to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland found overwhelming support in the state’s House of Delegates. They passed a bill that would ban the controversial process of injecting liquids into the earth to extract natural gas or oil 97 to 40. The move comes after thousands of locals called for an end to fracking through letters, petitions, and marches.
House Bill 1325, which Democrats and eight Republicans passed in the House, would ban fracking throughout Maryland. Opposition to the practice has been mounting in the state, with counties and cities passing their own local bans. And citizens have made their voices heard; according to EcoWatch, last week over 1,000 people marched in Annapolis, the state’s capitol, and locals have sent in more than 35,000 letters and petitions to the General Assembly supporting a ban.
David Fraser-Hidalgo, the delegate who introduced the legislation, said “Across the country, fracking is polluting the air and water of countless communities and making people sick. The passing of this bill is a huge step forward in securing Maryland as a national leader in combating climate change and protecting our citizens.”
But the fight isn’t over yet. Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, has said as long as strict safeguards are in place, he supports fracking. Should the governor veto the bill, the House would need 85 votes and the Senate would need 29 votes to override it, and anti-fracking proponents say they don’t yet have those numbers in the Senate.
Currently there is a two-year moratorium on fracking in the state. But activists, locals, and some lawmakers say there should be a permanent ban. Delegate Kumar P. Barve, a Democrat, told The Washington Post, “Science has spoken, and we should terminate this practice here in Maryland.”
Images via Don’t Frack Maryland Facebook