Southern Maryland News

It’s official: Hogan signs fracking ban into law

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


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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