Maryland Bans Fracking While Oklahoma Bans Banning Fracking

Iíve got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that another state has wisely chosen to ban fracking. The bad news is that, simultaneously, another state has banned its towns from banning fracking. I guess that evens out to a wash, then?

The good news: Maryland

Legislators in Maryland passed legislation to ban fracking last month. Although Republican Governor Larry Hogan did not express support for the bill, he ultimately neither signed nor vetoed it. By purposely taking no action, the legislation has finally become law by default.

The ban is not a forever ban, though. Instead, the law bans fracking in the state for two and a half years in order to allow legislators time to draft and implement thorough regulations for fracking. Given the strict standards already bandied about, even if Maryland does one day allow fracking, itís likely that oil and gas companies will prefer to stay away permanently. That, or perhaps Maryland could become a leader in how fracking can be handled in a safe and responsible manner Ė or at least more safe and responsible than is currently happening throughout the country.

Itís worth noting that Maryland hasnít been a hotbed for fracking in the first place. Since other nearby states appear to have more plentiful supplies of natural gas, the fracking industry hasnít targeted the state. Still, the northwestern portion of the state is known to be rich in untapped minerals, meaning companies would probably eventually come knocking. Having a solid set of rules for fracking before these companies arrive sounds like a smart idea.

The bad news: Oklahoma

Red states donít like bans done in favor of the environment. They hate it so much that theyíve starting banning bans. Arizona banned towns from banning plastic bags, while Texas has passed a law preventing local governments from banning fracking. Now Oklahoma has followed Texasís lead by similarly telling its cities and towns that they have to allow fracking whether or not they actually want it.

I donít want to call Oklahoma dumb, but considering that ample scientific research has conclusively fingered fracking as the source of its many earthquakes as well as other safety concerns, it only seems fair to give local governments the right to allow or not allow fracking as they see fit. However, state legislators contend that towns must let the stateís oil and gas regulators do their jobs and keep their discretion for approving fracking sites.

The ban might be a surprising move by the government if it werenít well known that the state lawmakersí top campaign donors are oil and gas companies. As such, the politicians are willing to overlook frackingís problems to keep their corporate fat cat friends happy.

The decision has a big impact on Oklahoma cities and towns that have grown exasperated with the presence of fracking corporations, not the least of which is Norman, Okla. In Norman, careless disposal of fracking wastewater has threatened the local water supply, leaving hundreds of thousands with potentially tainted drinking water. Ludicrously, this ďfracking ban banĒ forbids Norman from not just removing fracking from the town, but even from setting up new rules to ensure that the water is safe.

ďAt the very time local governments really need to have the ability to address a serious safety issue in their communities, the state is stepping in and taking that very authority away from them,Ē said Johnson Bridgwater, head of the Sierra Club in Oklahoma.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

69 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Unfortunately, OK is not the only state to do so. Texas did it too. And YES, Paul, Denton TX (as did NY) had scientific proof that fracking caused numerous health and environmental issues so they banned fracking in/near the town. However, the repubs decided they liked their money more than health and BANNED THE BAN in the state. It is the oil companies and the Repubs that are taking away the rights of the majority who want to be able to have clean water to drink, have their right to live a healthy and disease free life, have uncontaminated food sources and not worry about the quakes that CA has the reputation for. Now, OK will learn to rock and roll with the west coast.

So, by all means, keep your rights to drink toxic water and lose access to any clean water like many towns and areas already have.

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Lori Hone
Lori Hone3 years ago

Profits over life again

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Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago

I feel 4 the people of Oklahoma i do/a state run by Repug trash.

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Paul B.
Paul B3 years ago

Manuella, the problem is the left likes to ban all kinds of things, solely because THEY don't like them. Therefore, those of us who appreciate our freedom to do what we believe is safe and in our best interest, like to protect ourselves against those like you.
You know it used to bet hat if you didn't like something, you just didn't do it or avoided it. That was before the progressive left decided that THEY should control everything and solely in THEIR image and ideology, as if THEIR beliefs were the ONLY ones of significance. The truth is that many of the progressives causes were some through fear mongering and ultimately found to be fabricated or misrepresented, thus nullifying the original objection.
SO yes, you have caused us to resort to banning bans for our own protection of our legal rights.

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Paul B.
Paul B3 years ago

I guess most of you who follow this fracking have read where the EPA just published their report that says Fracking does NOT contaminate ground water. Hmmmm.... so much for using that argument against it any more. But I sure you can fabricate others in attempt to support banning it.

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Manuela C.
Manuela C3 years ago

What's with some US states and banning bans??

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Valentina R.
Valentina R3 years ago

lol, Oklahoma.

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Hussein Khalil
Hussein Khalil3 years ago

thanks

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Jan N.
Jan N3 years ago

Banning bans by the "party of no"; is that not a double negative?

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