Shale gas development in Maryland would completely industrialize mainly rural areas, and likely lead to severe health impacts: 84 percent of studies on the health impacts of fracking indicate hazards, elevated risks, or actual adverse health outcomes. This will lead to unwelcome and, we worry, catastrophic effects on perceptions about Maryland as a tourism destination.
We recognize the need for job creation, and look forward to working with local leaders on initiatives that promote a sustainable economic future. But fracking is not the solution, as evident in neighboring states that started fracking in the last decade: Chevron, currently the largest natural gas lease-holder in Maryland, cut 40 percent of it’s workforce in Pennsylvania since 2014. Fossil fuel extraction follows a boom-bust cycle that leaves communities burdened with health problems, damaged infrastructure, and a weaker economy for the long-term.
A truly sustainable economy depends on a clean and healthy environment, and fosters jobs in agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy. This is already happening in Maryland, from the mountains of Garrett County to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Fracking has no place in our vision of a healthy and prosperous Maryland.
We strongly urge the General Assembly to pass a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing in Maryland during the 2017 legislative session.