Chesapeake Bay Advocates Show Support for Fracking Ban

 Chesapeake Bay Advocates Show Support for Fracking Ban
Over 30 Local, Regional, and National Nonprofits Support Banning Fracking in Maryland

(Annapolis, MD) – Today, 37 local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations around the Chesapeake Bay watershed submitted a joint letter to Governor Hogan and select legislators to show their support for state legislation (SB740 and HB1325) to stop hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” from beginning in Maryland. The letter to the governor cited multiple concerns around fracking, including the growing body of research that demonstrates significant risks to human health and to the environment.

The Western Maryland counties of Washington, Allegany, and Garrett make up just one of the areas where fracking could take place. This region also supplies the majority of the water that flows into the Potomac River and eventually provides hundreds of thousands of residents with drinking water. The District of Columbia receives 100 percent of its drinking water from the Potomac River, and if it was ever contaminated by fracking wastewater or other sources, the nation’s capital would be limited to a two-day water supply.

"Part of the problem comes from the type of rock formations that hold the waters beneath the surface of Western Maryland,” said Dr. Ann Bristow, president of the Savage River Watershed Association and commissioner on Governor O'Malley's Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative. “These uncontained, fractured aquifers allow many pathways for the flow of toxic drilling chemicals into drinking water sources. There is also no ability to contain an underground contamination event.”

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that fracking can contaminate drinking water through leaks, spills, and improper disposal of fracking chemicals or other wastes. While natural gas drilling proponents point to strong regulations to prevent such issues from occurring, environmental groups question the ability of current practices to actually prevent leaking.

“The Governor promised us ‘gold standard’ regulations, but what the Department presented actually weakened critical health and environmental protections from earlier proposed regulations”, said Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “In addition, we have little confidence that the regulations will be enforced because of the reduced capacity of the state regulators over the last fifteen years. Allowing such a high-risk, low-rewards program to begin in the most pristine area of the State would be irresponsible."

In addition to this letter, advocates from the group Don’t Frack Maryland are also delivering over 35,000 petition signatures and 200+ business endorsements to state legislators to voice their support for the ban on fracking. They have also planned a “March on Annapolis to Ban Fracking” that will take place on March 2 at 1PM.

Sign-on organizations:

Alliance for Sustainable Communities

Audubon Naturalist Society

Blue Water Baltimore

Butternut Valley Alliance

Cecil Land Use Association

Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage

Citizen Shale

Corsica River Conservancy

Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth

Earth Forum of Howard County

Environment America

Environment Maryland

Environment Virginia

Friends of Frederick County

Friends of the Bohemia

Friends of the Middle River

Friends of the Rappahannock

Goose Creek Association

Gunpowder Riverkeeper

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Laurel Mountain Preservation Association

Little Falls Watershed Alliance

Maryland Conservation Council

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Maryland Pesticide Education Network

Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Nature Abounds

PennFuture

Pennsylvania Council and Churches

Potomac Riverkeeper

Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Savage River Watershed Association

Shenandoah Riverkeeper

Sparks-Glencoe Community Planning Council

Upper Potomac Riverkeeper

Waterkeepers Chesapeake

West Virginia Environmental Council

The organizations listed in this press release are members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, an organization that harnesses the collective power of more than 226 groups to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake region. This letter does not represent the views of all members of the Coalition, only the undersigned.

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