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WATCH: Legislators Will Debate a Moratorium on Fracking

State delegates offer differing opinions on whether a process used to extract natural gas from underground rock deposits has a place in Maryland.

By Jessica Wilde for Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS – Members of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network gathered outside the Maryland State House last week to advocate for a proposed moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process used to extract natural gas from rock deposits below ground.

Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, plans to introduce the Senate bill.

“My stance on fracking can be summed up in the phrase, ‘No studies, no fracking,’” he said. “I don’t think we should frack until we have questions answered.”

But Delegate Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett, thinks Maryland should go ahead and drill.

“I think the Maryland Department of the Environment has adequate regulations in place,” he said. “It has the potential for having a huge economic benefit in our region of the state.”

Beitzel represents Garrett County, where portions of the natural-gas rich Marcellus Shale is located in Maryland.

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

Gov. Martin O’Malley called for safety and best practice studies in an executive order in 2011, and the moratorium would ensure that no one could drill until the studies are completed in 2014.

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