Don’t Frack Maryland Campaign

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The far western panhandle of Maryland is beautiful country, graced by deep lakes, wild forests and of course the Upper Potomac River. Unfortunately it also contains a slice of the Marcellus Shale, the geologic basin that has been the target of the hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” industry in neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia for years. The resulting gas drilling boom in those states has taken a grim toll on the environment and local communities, in the form of air and water pollution, worker deaths, public health impacts and fractured “boom and bust” economies. Maryland hasn’t seen fracking yet – but it could happen as early as October 2017 when a 2-year legislative moratorium ends.

To address this threat, Potomac Riverkeeper Network joined the Don’t Frack Maryland Coalition, made up of over 140 organizations concerned about the risks posed by fracking, now well proven by other states’ experience and a rapidly growing body of scientific evidence confirming the likely harm to our environment and communities that could result if fracking takes off in Maryland. Potomac Riverkeeper Network supports the Coalition’s call for a statewide ban, citing the fact that no state has developed and enforced regulations protective enough of the environment and public health to warrant allowing it. In fact, Maryland’s proposed regulations are remarkably weak and would put our drinking water, air and health in danger.

Status Update: The Maryland General Assembly passed a statewide fracking ban bill, HB 1325, by veto-proof majorities. Maryland is the third state to ban fracking, but the first state with gas reserves to pass a ban through the legislature. The passage of this bill comes on the heels of a massive statewide and people-powered campaign involving thousands of Marylanders in rallies, marches, petition deliveries, and phone calls to legislators. Governor Hogan signed the bill on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 after he announced his support for the ban earlier in March. This victory was due to the powerful grassroots campaign organized by the Don’t Frack Maryland coalition. The coalition organized local ban ordinances and resolutions supporting a statewide ban, gathered business, professional health care providers, and farms and food industry sign-ons, and organized several rallies, marches and community organizing events in Western Maryland, Annapolis and throughout the state.