Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced his support for a ban on fracking in the state of Maryland Friday.
“Because the legislature has failed to act on our tough regulations I have decided to announce my full support for Sen. Zirkin’s fracking ban,” Hogan tweeted.
Democratic state Sen. Robert Zirkin, from Baltimore County, is sponsoring the bill that would place a permanent ban on fracking in this state.
Fracking refers to the extraction of natural oil or gas by drilling water and chemicals into the ground at a high pressure. While fracking supporters argue it has the potential to replenish Maryland’s economy, the practice has been controversial because of the environmental risks it poses.
Fracking is temporarily banned in this state due to a two-year moratorium, which expires on Oct. 1.
“Because of Maryland’s unique position in the country and our wealth of natural resources, our administration has concluded that possible environmental risks of fracking simply outweigh any potential benefits,” Hogan said at a Friday news conference. “This legislation, I believe, is an important initiative to safeguard our environment, and I urge members of the legislature on both sides of the aisle in both houses to come together and to finally put this issue to rest once and for all.”
Hogan, with an assurance that strict safeguards protecting the environment would be in place, has openly supported fracking in the past, according to The Washington Post.
Last week, the majority of voters in the House of Delegates passed a bill to ban fracking statewide. But Hogan’s veto of the bill would have outweighed those in support of it, state Sen. Joan Carter Conway told The Diamondback.
As of late February, 40 percent of Maryland residents were opposed to the fracking ban, while 36 percent said they supported the ban, according to a poll from Goucher College. The remaining 24 percent didn’t know.