Thursday, March 30, 2017

Maryland to Ban Fracking

In a historic vote Monday night, Maryland's Senate passed a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — expected to be signed into law by the state's Republican governor — making the state the third in the U.S. to reject the controversial technique. The 35–10 Senate vote came shortly after the state's House of Delegates approved the ban in a 97–40 vote.

Crucially, the state's governor, Republican Larry Hogan, recently announced that he was no longer convinced that fracking could be done safely if properly regulated and that a ban was necessary. Hogan said he will suuport (sic) the ban, making his state the first state with shale gas reserves to enact a fracking ban through legislation.

New York banned fracking in 2015, after a seven year review concluded the risks were too great and could not be adequately avoided, though that decision was made under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive branch authority, not through the legislature. Vermont's fracking ban was signed into law in 2012, but was mostly seen as symbolic as the state generally lacks shale gas reserves.

By passing the fracking ban, Maryland lawmakers rejected a proposal to simply extend the state's moratorium on fracked well permits, scheduled to expire in October, by another two years.

“Science has spoken,” State Delegate Kumar P. Barve, head of the House environmental committee, told the Washington Post earlier this month, “and we should terminate this practice here in Maryland.”
Obama's EPA kept looking for excuses to ban fracking and really couldn't find any, only a few "buwaddifs."  Having Maryland not fracking is not going to save the world; at best it will only slightly increase the market for fracked natural gas in nearby states. It pisses me off the Hogan has bought the anti-fracking nonsense and thus denied its economic benefit to the western, rural side of the state that provided much of his support in his election. But it probably won't get him enough enviro-votes on the next election to save him.

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