Maryland’s GOP Governor Lets Fracking Moratorium Stand

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(EnviroNews World News) — Annapolis, Maryland — “Through October 2017, the Maryland Department of Environment will be prohibited from issuing permits to allow drillers to frack for natural gas within the state, part of which sits atop the Marcellus Shale.” That was how Grist reported it when Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) allowed his period to either sign or veto an approved moratorium on fracking to expire.

Hogan, is known to be pro-fracking, but it is thought that he decided to take a pass on the bill because of the overwhelming support for it in both bodies of the state’s general assembly. The support was so high for the moratorium in fact, that it passed with well over a two-thirds majority — enough to override a veto.

It is logical for Hogan to concede in this case because the bill was so popular that it passed the state Senate with a 45-2 margin while passing in the House of Delegates 103-33.

The implementation of the law now makes Maryland the second state in the union to adopt such a setback for frackers, after New York’s Andrew Cuomo signed a ban of sorts in December last year.

The Washington Post reported, Matt Clark, spokesman for Hogan said the governor “continues to support the safe and responsible development of energy to meet the current and future needs of citizens and to promote job growth in Western Maryland.”

Proponents who had been pushing the moratorium were generally pleased although some said it doesn’t go far enough and wanted an eight year halt to the practice.

The Washington Post reported the Senate sponsor of the bill, Sen. Karen S. Montgomery (D-Montgomery), said she was “relieved and delighted” with the governor’s decision. “Now we have two years to continue to compile indisputable scientific data,” Montgomery said.

Either way, fracking is now on hold in Maryland until at least October of 2017 — and that has environmentalists cheering.

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