Yet another state is saying no to a rush forward with fracking on the basis that the potential risks to health and the environment remain inadequately understood to support a conclusion that it can be done safely. At the end of the day on May 29, 2015, a two-and-a-half year moratorium enacted by the Maryland General Assembly will become law.
Last December, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo famously announced that New York would be banning fracking on the same grounds. (That ban is expected to become official any day, when the state formally concludes its long-running environmental and health review process.)
As I blogged that November, we were disappointed when out-going Maryland Governor O'Malley gave the greenlight to fracking moving ahead in his state. But now, in a victory for a large and diverse coalition of Maryland community and environmental groups who worked tirelessly to prevent that from happening, current Governor Hogan has indicated he will not veto the legislation establishing a new two-and-a-half year moratorium. That legislation passed both houses of the legislature with veto-proof majorities - demonstrating its widespread public support.
As the science continues to emerge, and as more and more health professionals in particular continue to express their concerns, it is clear that the public is increasingly convinced that we just don't know enough to say that fracking can be done safely - and their elected officials are taking notice.