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Maryland and Fracking

In Maryland, the debate about whether to frack has been raging for several years. Western Maryland sits atop part of the Marcellus Shale deposit, and in 2011 then-Governor Martin O’Malley commissioned a study to examine the risks of fracking. Marylanders are worried about noise, air and water pollution, and harm to the state’s thriving outdoor recreation and tourism industries.

Using the results of the research, O’Malley proposed a set of regulations aimed at protecting air and water, and requiring companies to submit drilling plans and offset leaks with other pollution reductions. The recommended regulations were not finalized before O’Malley left office, and they were never put into effect.

In the absence of regulations, Maryland’s legislature passed a moratorium bill that keeps fracking from going forward in the state until 2017 and requires the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations by 2016.

Did You Know?

Gov. Larry Hogan refused to sign the previous governor’s fracking moratorium, but because the bill passed with veto-proof numbers, it became law in June 2015. The ban is in line with public opinion in Maryland. In February 2015, 56 percent of residents opposed the use of fracking.

Last Updated: September 29, 2015

The Fracked Fact Quiz

Maryland's ban on fracking protects the state's residents from the negative impacts of fracking.
Despite a statewide ban, Marylanders are already impacted by fracking due to neighboring states’ activities. In 2015, scientists revealed that levels of ethane—a byproduct of fracking—in Essex, MD, rose 30 percent between 2010 and 2013. The majority of the prevailing winds to Essex, a 20-minute drive from Baltimore, come from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, all three of which allow fracking. Scientists labeled the ethane a “canary in the coal mine.”

For More Information:

The Fraccidents Map:

High profile incidents ("fraccidents") related to the country's oil and gas drilling boom have occurred in and around Maryland. Click on each Fraccident icon. fraccident to learn more:

Fracking Across The United States: