A fracking site in New Milford, Pennsylvania. CREDIT: AP Photo/Richard Drew
By Samantha Page
February, 3, 2017
Maryland’s moratorium on fracking has nearly expired, but lawmakers are seeking to make it permanent.
No one is fracking in Maryland right now — and lawmakers there just introduced a bill to ensure the practice is permanently banned.
With 23 co-sponsors, the fracking ban introduced this week already has the support of nearly half of the state senate. An assembly version of the bill is expected to be introduced next week.
Lawmakers are rushing to enact a ban before a two-year moratorium expires in May. The 2015 moratorium was intended give state officials a chance to study the potential impact and draft regulations for fracking, which uses large volumes of chemical- and sand-laced water, injected at high pressures, to break up underground rock formations and release deposits of natural gas or oil.
Those regulations have not materialized, and opponents of the practice aren’t waiting. Fracking has been tied to a number of negative health outcomes, including increased rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Fracking has also been tied to elevated levels of benzene and other carcinogens in the water supply.
Maryland does have natural gas resources. Northwestern Maryland is part of the Marcellus Shale region, which is the largest reservoir of natural gas in the country. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have all seen an explosion in natural gas extraction in recent years — along with the health and environmental concerns it brings.
Prince George’s County, near Washington, D.C., also sits on a natural gas reservoir. Officials there passed a county-wide ban on fracking last April, after a massive push from voters…..
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