Fracking threatens our lives, communities, environment
State legislators need to stop fracking in Maryland before it starts.
In September, the Hogan administration released regula- tions to allow fracking in 2017 when a two-year moratorium expires. A state-wide coalition of over 100 groups advocated this moratorium.
Support for a permanent ban also comes from all over the state, and includes a wide variety of citizen networks. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which together represent more than a third of the state’s population, have effectively banned fracking. Polls show that more than half of Marylanders are fracking opponents.
Fracking is a drilling technique where highly pressurized water is injected into rock formations deep underground, causing them to break. Once the formation breaks, oil and natural gas are extracted for sale. The current fracking boom reflects the recent devel- opment of horizontal drilling, which allows entry to otherwise inaccessible formations.
Why oppose fracking? Because fracking poisons the air we breathe, the water we drink, the climate we depend on and the communities where we live.
The fracking process releases air contaminants known to cause illnesses, birth defects and death.
Fracking uses vast amounts of local water and pollutes the water that remains.
Fracking results in the emission of gases that worsen climate change. Fracking reduces property values, harms tourism, industrializes pristine rural areas and subjects communities to boom-or-bust economies. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies confirm these dangers. It is impossible to make fracking safe. It must be banned.
And it must be banned throughout the state. Fracking is not a problem limited to western Maryland. Gas deposits exist in more than half the counties in the state. Legalized fracking would allow oil and gas companies to turn substantial areas of our state into environmental sacrifice zones.
Gov. Hogan’s promotion of fracking threatens the welfare of Maryland and its people. It is also a lost opportunity for leadership. Communities and their leaders around the world are turning away from dangerous fossil fuels in favor of safe, sustainable energy sources. Maryland deserves leadership of this sort.
When he became governor, Larry Hogan imposed on Maryland “We’re Open for Business” as the official state greeting. The Baltimore Sun rightly denounced this slogan as “cheesy.” But it’s an ominous slogan as well, so long as he wants to welcome businesses that threaten our lives and our environment.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker, Brandywine
The writer is the rector of St. Paul’s Parish, Baden.