Activists welcomed the news banning fracking, which has been tied to cancers and a slew of negative health impacts, particularly for children.
The U.S. state of Maryland has outlawed fracking Wednesday after the Republican governor signed a bill against the cheap oil exploration practice that had passed through the Democrat-controlled state congress, a victory for environmentalists who have been organizing against fracking for years.
“Maryland’s fracking ban is the latest milestone in a strong and growing movement to resist fossil fuels throughout the country,” Wenonah Hauter, the executive Director of Food & Water Watch group, said in a statement.
“This is a huge victory for public health, common-sense environmental protection, climate stability and, not least, the power of grassroots organizing.”
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. It has become one of the most common natural gas extraction techniques in the United States, due to its low cost.
Fracking is currently taking place in at least 17 states, with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005. Also, major oil and gas companies are seeking to expand into other U.S. states.
However environmental activists warn that the billions of gallons of chemicals used in thousands of fracking sites around the country have the potential to cause cancer and are capable of infiltrating drinking water sources from leaks and spills.
Such dangers have prompted the years-long action against the fossil fuel extraction technique. “With Governor Hogan’s signature, Marylanders can feel safe knowing their air, their water and their health will now be protected from the inherent dangers of fracking,” Hauter added.
“We are confident that as scientific analysis and public opinion continue to move decisively against fracking, victories of this scale will be emulated in many more states in the coming years.”
The fact that a Republican governor approved such a law, she argued, demonstrates that “matters of public health and our environment need not be partisan.”
New York state is the only other state where fracking has also been banned.