Why Maryland Needs a Fracking Moratorium Now
In 2011, Governor O’Malley issued a temporary, three-year executive order that put a hold on drilling permits in Maryland and created a commission to assess whether or not fracking poses unacceptable risks to Marylanders. The executive order expires in August 2014. Underfunded state agencies are cramming to complete the necessary studies and risk analysis with too few resources and too little time. When the executive order expires, Maryland will have no legal protections against fracking. But in 2013, polling found that 78% of Marylanders want legislators to require thorough study of the risks of fracking before any drilling is permitted in the state.
That's why CCAN is working with a coalition of public health, environmental, faith and other public interest groups to pass a legislative moratorium on fracking during the 2014 General Assembly session. The moratorium bill will ensure no fracking occurs in Maryland until state agencies complete thorough scientific risk studies. Once the studies are complete, the bill will also ensure that the General Assembly and the public have time to weigh the information and act accordingly if the evidence shows fracking would pose unacceptable risks to our public health, environment and communities.
The General Assembly must pass a moratorium during the 2014 legislative session to ensure that Marylanders have safeguards against the risks of fracking - and a voice in determining, once all the facts are on the table, whether fracking should ever move forward in Maryland.
Check back soon to learn about upcoming actions you can take to push for a moratorium.
The Facts on Fracking
Fracking is a dangerous drilling method used to extract natural gas from shale rock. It involves drilling "L"-shaped pipelines deep underground and pumping a mixture of water, sand and toxic chemicals through them at high pressures to crack apart the rock and release gas packed within. (The chemicals used in fracking include benzene, xylene and toluene, all of which are known carcinogens.) Significant volumes of fracking fluid come back up to the surface loaded with heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and radioactive materials. This hazardous wastewater poses an enormous disposal challenge and the toxic chemicals in fracking fluid threaten to leach into our drinking water. The industrial well pads, machinery and truck traffic that come along with the drilling process disrupt rural towns, straining infrastructure, clogging roads, and adding to noise and air pollution.
Fracking in Maryland
The Marcellus Shale is probably the best known gas basin in the nation. It’s an enormous underground rock formation that spans areas from New York to Virginia, including Maryland’s Garrett and Allegany counties. But that’s not all: Maryland sits atop not one, but five gas basins that the natural gas industry could frack.
That’s why fracking is a statewide threat to Marylanders and has been a hot-button issue in our state since as early as 2005.
A Timeline of Fracking in Maryland
- Sign the petition calling for a fracking moratorium now.
- Take our Fracking Moratorium Now! campaign volunteer survey.
- Ask your local group or faith community to sign our resolution calling for a moratorium.
- Read more about how the 2013 fracking moratorium bill would have worked.
- Read the Baltimore Sun op-ed, "No studies, no fracking," by Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur.
- Download and share a flyer about the risks of fracking in Maryland and the need for a moratorium.
- See answers to frequently asked questions.
- See the poll results showing 71 percent of Marylanders want careful study of fracking.
- Learn more about methane from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Read this great book review by Bill McKibben that discusses the surge of fracking.
- Check out the latest video from Gasland Director Josh Fox, The Sky is Pink.
- Watch "DON'T WORRY, DRIVE ON: Fossil Fools & Fracking Lies" motion graphic from the Post Carbon Institute.
Stories of Fracking Impacts from Across the Country
- Pennsylvania Fraccidents Map
- Ohio Fraccidents Map
- Michael Bagdes-Canning from Tour de FRACK
- Dimock, PA Water Tests Conducted By EPA Amid Fracking Concerns
- Gas Well Explosion Claims One Life
- Pennsylvania Doctors Worry Over Fracking 'Gag Rule'
- Fracked: Barnett Shale drilling chemicals found in blood and organs
- An Accident In Pennsylvania Is Pouring Toxic Fracking Fluid Into A River
- Pennsylvania fracking explosion contaminates water, farmland
- Explosion rocks natural gas compressor station
- PA mobile home park faces displacement by fracking industry
- RUN! RUN! RUN!