There will be no ban on hydraulic fracturing—also called fracking—in Maryland this year.
And not as long as a state commission continues to review the issue in the state, according to Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who chairs the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
“How can you ban something that isn’t happening yet?” asked Conway, D-Baltimore City. “No one has a permit to frack. I don’t know why we’d want a ban when no one has a permit.”
Opponents of the process that removes natural gas deposits from shale deposits such as those prevalent in Western Maryland have returned to Annapolis again this year seeking a ban.
Conway chairs the committee where the bills will be heard and represents a major hurdle to bringing the bill to a vote on the Senate floor.
Conway said Tuesday before a hearing on a bill sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore, that bills banning fracking are essentially dead on arrival.
Last year, Zirkin sponsored a bill creating an 18-month moratorium on the controversial drilling process. The bill this year permanently bans the process.
A commission appointed to study the issue and make recommendations
“There will be no bans in the state of Maryland so long as a blue ribbon commission is studying the issue,” Conway said.