Annapolis, MD- Today the Maryland Senate passed a statewide fracking ban bill, HB 1325, by a vote of 35 to 10. The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Hogan, who is expected to sign it after he announced his support for the ban earlier this month. Maryland would be 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.
“This vote confirms the power of participant democracy. Thousands of voices in Maryland joined together and accomplished what many said could not be done,” said Ann Bristow, Garrett County resident, and Commissioner, Governor O’Malley’s Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative. “Never believe when someone tells you that an organized movement can't produce change against overwhelming odds. We are proving otherwise. Never rely on a politician who refuses to base public policy in science.”
“As the evidence piles up about the harmful effects of fracking, we're fortunate to have the leaders, legislators, advocates and activists who have worked together to ensure that Maryland remains free of this process. All of Maryland has united to protect its residents and future residents from the harmful impacts of fracking,” said Jackie and Dale Sams, Don’t Frack Western Maryland.
“During the moratorium, alarming research about fracking’s harms emerged while voices from fracked states were sounding the alarms as well. In Maryland, every email and phone call, every Facebook post and tweet, every meeting and march has led to this moment. We are relieved and overjoyed that the state Senate has said NO to fracking,” said Elisabeth Hoffman, Howard County Climate Action.
“The implications of the Maryland Senate voting to pass a fracking ban are far reaching,” said Natalie Atherton, Citizen Shale. “Western Maryland is surrounded by fracking just across our state borders. We have learned from and worked with our neighbors whose health has been compromised for years. Already Citizen Shale is being approached by communities in other states, hoping to learn how they can ban fracking where they live. This has become a movement of people, and it won’t stop with Maryland.”
“Today’s vote is a result of the work of thousands of Marylanders who came out to town halls, hearings, and rallies across the state. The grassroots movement to ban fracking overcame the high-powered lobbyists and deep pockets of the oil and gas industry,” said Mitch Jones, Senior Policy Advocate Food & Water Watch. “We worked tirelessly to make sure our legislators and the governor were held accountable to the demands of voters and followed the science. Now we look forward to Governor Hogan signing this bill into law and finally knowing that our water, climate, and families will be protected from the dangers of fracking.”
"When we began working on this issue seven years ago, we knew this would be an uphill battle. Over the years since passing the moratorium in 2015, the science and policy are now in alignment to protect all Marylanders from fracking. This resulted from the enormous grassroots efforts of the Don't Frack Maryland coalition and our legislative leaders, Chairman Kumar Barve, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, Delegate Shane Robinson, Chairwoman Joan Carter-Conway, Senator Bobby Zirkin, Senator Paul Pinsky, Senator Roger Manno, and others for championing this cause and blazing a trail for our neighboring states,"Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
“Today, Maryland is one step closer to being the first state with gas reserves to legislatively ban fracking. We have built an unprecedented environmental movement in Maryland that would not have been possible without all of those who lobbied, marched and those who risked arrest to say we will not compromise on our health, our communities, and a frack-free future for Maryland,” said Brooke Harper, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Environmental Justice Chair of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP.
“Waterkeepers across the region applaud the vote today in the Maryland Senate to ban fracking statewide,” said Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director, Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “This vote was the result of an incredible grassroots movement across Maryland, and especially in Western Maryland, that demanded the legislature protect their families, livelihoods, and clean water and air from the irreversible damage caused by fracking.”
“Maryland wisely decided in recent years not to jump on the fracking bandwagon without understanding the true risks,” said Dr. Gina Angiola, member of the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “That delay allowed time for data collection and observation of impacts on neighboring states. We now know fracking is simply too dangerous for public health and the environment, and cannot be adequately regulated. We applaud the Senate for listening to the voices of constituents across the state and for recognizing that a ban is the only rational policy option.”
“Sierra Club commends the Maryland General Assembly for this bipartisan victory,” said Josh Tulkin, Director of the Maryland Sierra Club. “Congratulations go to the thousands of people across the state, particularly those in Western Maryland, who stood up for their beliefs, who organized, lobbied, and rallied to get this legislation passed. This ban is a major step for Maryland’s path to a clean energy economy.”
The Don’t Frack Maryland coalition unites over 140 business, public interest, community, faith, food and climate groups committed to passing a permanent, statewide ban on fracking in Maryland. For more information on the statewide campaign, go tohttp://www.dontfrackmd.org.