Saturday, April 04, 2015

US State of Maryland Mulls Fracking Moratorium

The upper legislature in the US state of Maryland advanced legislation on Friday that could put a two-year moratorium on fracking amid widespread opposition to the practice in the state, local media reported.

“Based on public events alone, opponents of fracking seem to have out-demonstrated, out-lobbied and outdone those who support the controversial process of extracting natural gas from Marcellus Shale,” WBALTV in Baltimore said on Friday.

Maryland’s Senate passed legislation on Friday that would prohibit fracking in the state pending environmental and health review. The legislation must now pass the House and be signed by the state’s Governor to become law.

Another bill passed previously by Maryland’s Senate would hold fracking operators liable for people’s health and property damage.

Other US states such as New York had moratoriums on fracking before outright banning the practice, which involves extracting oil and gas by breaking underground shale formations with high-pressurized water and chemicals.

New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo cited public health concerns and the environment when he announced his state would prohibit the practice in December 2014.

Western Maryland sits atop part of the massive Marcellus Shale, which extends into West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Environmental groups are concerned about public health and the environmental impact of fracking on the state, including the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Proponents, however, argue fracking will create jobs and boost the economy.

A fracking boom in the United States has catapulted the United States to be the world’s leading oil producer, with nearly half of production coming from the controversial practice.


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