The State Senate passed a bill against the process Monday night.
Annapolis, Md (KM). It looks like Maryland is on its way to banning the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. On Monday night, the State Senate passed a bill to prohibit the process which is drilling deep underground and using water and chemicals to remove natural gas. The vote was 35-10.
Frederick County Delegate Karen Lewis Young co-sponsored the bill on the House side. She says the process has a number of health and safety concerns. “The contamination issues have not been resolved yet. And fracking uses an inordinate amount of water,” she says.
Governor Larry Hogan has said he will sign a bill to ban fracking in Maryland.
A Towson University study has found it could create 3,600 jobs over the next ten years. Legislators from western Maryland say these jobs are needed in an area which is economically depressed. But Delegate Young says fracking could hurt the tourism industry. “And many of us are concerned that since tourism is so important to the economy of western Maryland, they could actually jeopardize that industry if they pursued fracking,” she says.
Hydraulic fracturing isn’t allowed in Maryland. But there is a moratorium on issuing permits through the end of October.
There were calls in the General Assembly for each county to decide on its own whether it wants fracking. But Young said fracking can pollute ground and surface water, and polluted water knows no political boundaries. She pointed out that she comes Montoursville located in north central Pennsylvania. The nearby town of Hughesville tried fracking with disastrous results. “There was an accident and there was a spill in the Susquehanna River that went for 23-miles. So that went from one county to the next,” says Young. “I knew people who could not use their well water for over six months.”
A portion of western Maryland lies atop the Marcellus Shale which has natural gas deposits. It runs from New York to Tennessee. Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania allow fracking, but New York and Vermont prohibit it.
By Kevin McManus