The case to ban fracking is growing more popular in a society that is becoming more environmentally aware. Fracking, technically known as hydraulic fracturing, is defined as the process in which “fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface are opened and widened by injecting chemicals and liquids at high pressure: used especially to extract natural gas or oil.” While fracking has its advantages, politics is strongly divided over this issue.
The state of Maryland faces a split in opinions over this energy source; Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Harford County Executive David Craig approves fracking for natural gas, while Democratic candidates like Attorney General Doug Gansler and Delegate Heather Mizeur are wary, and pushing for alternative energy sources. Many Republican representatives argue that the advantages of fracking outweigh the harmful consequences. Republicans question the cost of other sources of renewable energy; many being under the impression that it is not only expensive, but will fail to benefit the state’s economy.
Many of Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates are pushing for an alternative method, such as wind or solar power. Those working under the Martin O’Malley administration have the goal to put 20% of state spending towards electric renewable sources within eight years. Many Democratic candidates want to use clean, renewable, and affordable energy to power homes and the economy in an effort to better protect the planet.
In 2011, Governor O’Malley put a temporary order against drilling in Maryland to further assess the dangers of fracking. Unfortunately, the clock is close to running out for the state of Maryland: on August 1st, 2014, the temporary protections enacted three years ago will expire. The only hope against the gas industry must be enacted by the legislature. Without a statutory moratorium on fracking, the gas industry will target Maryland as their next destination for fracking. Shore Chief Executive Edmund DeJarnette Jr. wants to begin the drilling in late 2014 or early 2015 in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Until fracking is studied further and moratorium is removed, fracking cannot occur in Maryland. We will all have to keep a close watch on Maryland in August to see what comes of the ban on fracking, and how that will impact the state’s political factions.