FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 28, 2017
For more information:
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, 610-678-7726
Coalition Urges Gov. Wolf to Take Cue from Republican Gov. Hogan on Maryland Fracking Ban
Statement from Pennsylvanians Against Fracking
Yesterday, the Maryland legislature passed legislation creating a permanent ban on fracking. The bill will head to the desk of Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who has already committed to sign it. Beginning with the two-and-half year moratorium that became effective in June 2015, opponents of fracking have been fighting against allowing the fracking industry to invade its shale formations in the western portion of the state as they have done in their neighbor Pennsylvania.
Back in 2015, the moratorium bill was approved with veto-proof margins: 102 to 34 in the House of Delegates and 45 to 2 in the Senate. Governor Hogan, then a strong supporter of fracking, allowed it to become law without his signature. This reflected the popular will; a February 2015 Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that 56 percent of respondents opposed the use of fracking, compared to 36 percent who supported it.
Since then, the outlook for the frackers did not get better, as fracking advocates have failed to make the case to the public that the economic value of fracking in Maryland would outweigh the potential economic and environmental harm it would bring. A recent OpinionWorks poll done by the Don’t Frack Maryland Coalition found that state residents favored a ban by a 56-28 margin, with 16 percent undecided. The Baltimore Sun summed up the popular outlook: “We agree. It’s a bad bet.”
With Governor Hogan’s signature, the bill will become law, making Maryland the first state with shale gas to pass a law banning fracking. New York did so by executive order in June 2015 and Vermont, which also banned the process, has no gas that could be fracked. We applaud the Maryland legislators and Governor Larry Hogan who have done the right thing and enacted legislation to protect the state’s environment and put the health and safety of Maryland’s citizens first. At a news conference on March 17, Governor Hogan revealed the reversal of his previous position supporting fracking: “This legislation, I believe, is an important initiative to safeguard our environment. . . Protecting our clean water supply and our natural resources is critically important to Marylanders, and we simply cannot allow the door to be opened for fracking in our state.”
Diane Sipe, a member of Pennsylvanians Against Fracking’s Steering Committee and a resident of Butler County where fracking is rife, rued that Pennsylvania’s political leaders do not show the same resolve to protect the people and environment as those of our neighbors to the north and south now do:
“Pennsylvanians, unfortunately, do not have a Governor who puts their health and safety or even their economic health ahead of the gas industry’s business plan. Like the two governors before him, Governor Wolf instead prioritizes the industry’s wish list, as made evident once again when he transferred $24 million from a fund to support renewable energy to another to provide funding to connect gas lines to municipal and public facilities. His policies ensure that Pennsylvania will continue to double down on the pursuit of an expensive and outdated 20th Century energy industry while clean and cheaper renewable energy, the energy source of the 21st Century, surges ahead elsewhere. He is dooming us to future of economic backwardness at the cost of a degraded and unhealthy environment.
Wolf, a Democrat, could learn a lesson on protecting his constituents and fighting climate change from Hogan, a Republican.”
About Pennsylvanians Against Fracking
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is a statewide coalition of organizations, institutions, and businesses calling for a halt to fracking in the Commonwealth. Steering Committee member organizations include Berks Gas Truth, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Marcellus Protest, Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, and Thomas Merton Center. Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at paagainstfracking.org.