Governor Hogan announces 'full support' for Maryland fracking ban
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) -- Governor Larry Hogan has announced his "full support" for a fracking ban in Maryland.
The announcement was made Friday afternoon.
"We must take the next step and move from virtually banning fracking to actually banning fracking," Governor Hogan said.
He added, "The choice to me is clear. Either you support a band on fracking or you are for fracking."
Hogan said the announcement was made after it came to his attention that Senate President Mike Miller and "others" were working on a plan that would open the door to fracking in Maryland, by pushing to place a referendum on the ballot that would allow for fracking.
In a statement, Senate President Mike Miller said "I am not for fracking, never have been for fracking, never will be for fracking. I supported legislation that banned fracking but let the people of Garrett and Allegany County have their voice."
“Because the legislature has failed to enact our tough regulations and because there is now a move by the Senate President to allow for fracking, today I have decided to announce my full support for the Maryland fracking ban, which has been sponsored by Senator Bobby Zirkin of Baltimore County," Hogan said.
A statewide moratorium on fracking expires in October.
A bill banning fracking was passed in the state's House of Delegates and a similar bill is pending in the state's Senate.
"Our administration has concluded that the possible environmental risks of fracking simply outweigh any potential benefits," Hogan said Friday.
About a dozen people were arrested at the State House on Thursday, during a protest against fracking.
Shortly after Hogan's announcement, Washington D.C.-based consumer rights group Food & Water Watch issued a statement in support of his stance;
“We’re thrilled that Governor Hogan has listened to the science, listened to the facts, and listened to the will of most Marylanders in calling for a ban on fracking," said Emily Wurth, Organizing Director, Food & Water Watch. "His sudden leadership on this issue proves that protecting public health and the environment is not a matter of partisanship. It is a matter of common sense. This paves the way for leaders of the Senate to pass the fracking ban, put the bill on the governor’s desk, and take this looming toxic risk off the table once and for all.”