Maryland Bans Fracking Despite Governor’s Opposition

Published July 15, 2015

Maryland has placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking,” for energy extraction in the state until October 2016.

            The bill became law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) signature and contrasts strongly with Oklahoma’s embrace of fracking.

            Hogan was elected in 2014 after campaigning as a strong supporter of fracking. During the campaign, he cited a 2014 study from Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute that found hydraulic fracturing in western Maryland could generate more than 3,000 jobs and upwards of $5 million in new tax revenue each year during peak drilling. Hogan said the state was “sitting on an economic gold mine.”

            The law, approved by veto-proof margins in both houses of the Democrat-controlled legislature, went into effect May 29.

Lack of Knowledge Cited

Gary Stone, vice president of engineering for Five States Energy, says Maryland’s limited experience with the process and benefits of fracking may have contributed to support for the ban.

            “Maryland joined New York and succumbed to a coalition of environmental activists and others under the ‘Don’t Frack Maryland’ campaign to pass a veto-proof two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing,” Stone said.

            “Oklahoma has tens of thousands of producing wells, while Maryland has 11 total historical gas wells, [and] none are horizontal wells that would have been hydraulically fractured,” Stone said. “Oklahomans obviously know more about the advantages and disadvantages of modern oil and gas production and have produced legislation accordingly.”

H. Sterling Burnett ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

Internet Info

“Impact Analysis of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative,” Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University, May 23, 2014: