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Montgomery County Lawmakers Want to Ban Fracking in Maryland

State Sen. Karen Montgomery (D-Montgomery) said she believes fracking creates "severe environmental problems."

Two bills to ban a controversial method of extracting natural gas from underground rock deposits known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will move through the Maryland General Assembly this year.

Del. Shane Robinson, a Democrat from Montgomery Village, introduced the House version Thursday, a ban that would go into effect next October if approved by lawmakers. State Sen. Karen Montgomery, a Democrat from Brookeville, will sponsor the Senate version. 

“Maryland should not invest taxpayer money into funding studies about fracking — those resources should instead be put towards renewable energy,” said Robinson.

“We need not look further than our neighbors in Pennsylvania to see the kind of destruction fracking is capable of bringing to our residents and our environment."

Environmental groups geared up to fight the state's tolerance of the procedure shortly before the General Assembly reconvened. Members of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network gathered outside the Maryland State House in support of a moratorium that would hault drilling until further studies were completed. 

At least one lawmaker has already spoken out against any ban on fracking. Del. Wendell Beitzell (R-Garrett), who represents natural-gas rich Garrett County, said there are enough safety measures in place to continue drilling. 

“It has the potential for having a huge economic benefit in our region of the state,” Beitzell told Capital News Service. 

“If you want to kill something, just ask for another study,” he said.

Montgomery addressed fracking's potential as a "moneymaker" for the state. 

“What is not counted in the equation are the severe environmental problems not addressed, including groundwater contamination by unknown contaminants and the inability to safely dispose of used and contaminated fracking wastewater,” she said. 

Bob January 25, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Del. Beitzell probably has it right, another study could kill something -- in this case, maybe its exactly why MD should proceed with a study, and use PA's (and WV's, TX, etc.) studies as starting points.
KatieSilverSpring January 25, 2013 at 04:22 PM
I respect the opinions of those most effected by this than I do with Progressives in MontCo trying to behavior-modify. POVERTY creates "severe environmental problems", Sen Montgomery; and, considering the GeneralAssembly-imposed poverty in western Maryland over the last few decades, you'd best serve the state by discontinuing this practice.
Claudia Rousseau January 25, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Fracking has been, as pointed out, an evironmental disaster in the places where it has been practiced, and we should avoid it in MD. While it may create jobs, it also creates irreversible pollution that would directly affect our state's land and water.
Kim Cooke January 25, 2013 at 05:09 PM
I think MD is taking a great leadership role. What goes into the ground poisons water and fractures bedrock, and those very real facts trump all business and economic considerations. It's high time we all got on board re the condition of our planet. I simply cannot understand how we think we can brighten our future on any level while destroying our earth.
Craig January 25, 2013 at 11:03 PM
I don't know enough about it - do you? Have you read any of these studies top-to-bottom? What about North Dakota - is it falling to pieces? Last I heard it has 3% unemployment and boom towns and a solid economy. You need to read all sides and study the issue rather then take BIG GREEN's agenda straight to the head. I'm all for regulations and safety and good stewardship of the earth - but, pray tell, how is importing nat gas and oil good for any of that?
Dick January 26, 2013 at 01:03 PM
I believe most studies have shown fracking to be safe. We tend to believe what Hollywood puts out based on junk science. I believe we are governed by fools that pander to the environmental extremists who would just as soon see us in poverity.
Teresa Baines January 26, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Whatever Mont. Co. or MD ultimately decides re fracking, you can be sure that residents here will be more than happy to enjoy the benefits of lower-cost gas heating of their homes, reduced electric bills (thx. in large part to natural-gas-fired power plants), etc.--all relying on fracking-derived natural gas piped in from elsewhere.
Mike January 27, 2013 at 02:48 AM
I have yet to hear of specific evidence of lives ruined by the so-called "environmental disaster" of fracking for natural gas. I have heard of many economic benefits and lives improved by the activity elsewhere. Let's hope that environmental alarmists of Montgomery County, who enjoy the benefits of the extraction and intelligent use of natural resources (oil, iron, silicon, etc.) of the land, don't prevent those in less affluent areas from improving their lives.
Kim Cooke January 27, 2013 at 03:14 AM
"Environmental alarmists."
William Spears February 20, 2013 at 10:56 PM
I have not seen any valid evidence that proves fracking is dangerous when properly done and monitored. Until that happens bans are idiotic and should not be done. Provide real, unbiased evidence, if that is even possible these days, that fracking is a real problem and can't be done safely and then go ahead with the ban, but not until that is done. Same goes for gun control laws, prove they actually make a measurable difference and then move ahead.

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