It’s of­fi­cial: Ho­gan signs frack­ing ban into law

Mary­land be­comes first state to pro­hibit drilling prac­tice through leg­is­la­tion, third over­all

Southern Maryland News - - Front Page - By DANDAN ZOU dzou@somd­

As Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) signed a house bill to pro­hibit frack­ing Tues­day, Mary­land of­fi­cially be­came the third state to out­law the con­tro­ver­sial drilling prac­tice, fol­low­ing ac­tions in Ver­mont and New York.

Frack­ing is a drilling tech­nique that in­jects a mix­ture of water, chem­i­cals, sand and other sub­stances in rock to ex­tract nat­u­ral gas.

Sup­port­ers ar­gue frack­ing would cre­ate eco­nomic ben­e­fits and cut car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, as nat­u­ral gas dis­places coal. On the other side of the debate, op­po­nents say frack­ing could pol­lute water sup­plies and raise other health con­cerns.

Ac­cord­ing to ad­vo­cacy groups, with ap­proval from both cham­bers of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly and the gover­nor’s sig­na­ture, Mary­land be­came the first state with gas re­serves to pass a ban through its leg­is­la­ture. The first state that out­lawed frack­ing — Ver­mont — doesn’t have gas re­serves for frack­ing any­way, and New York pro­hib­ited the drilling method through an ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

The Mary­land Senate passed the bill by a vote of 36-10 — a veto-proof

ma­jor­ity — on March 27. Senate Pres­i­dent Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince Ge­orge’s) voted for the bill, while Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) voted against it.

In pre­vi­ous in­ter­views, Waugh said he was con­vinced that frack­ing is safe and was “sad” to see the bill pass the Senate.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 97-40. Del. Matt Morgan (R-St. Mary’s), Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Mary’s) and Del. Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) all voted against the bill on March 10.

The Mary­land League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers praised the bi­par­ti­san ban in a re­lease is­sued Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“With waves of grass­roots sup­port such as An­napo­lis Frack­ing March, over 1,000 of our Mary­land neigh­bors stood to­gether to pro­tect our air, land, water, and health,” the re­lease said. “The sci­ence and pol­icy are now in align­ment to pro­tect all Mary­lan­ders from frack­ing.”

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