The movement to ban fracking in Maryland has been building for years, especially since the successful grassroots campaign to pass a moratorium on drilling in 2015. But with the upcoming legislative session just weeks away, things are really heating up: local bans and resolutions have been passed across the state, and the Don’t Frack Maryland coalition now includes over 130 organizations.
Last week, Food & Water Watch, along with our coalition partners, organized a week of actions across Maryland to bring this growing movement together and show our legislators in Annapolis that now is the time to ban fracking in our state. The actions started on Monday with a rally in Baltimore, where constituents of Senator Joan Carter Conway called on her to continue her record of environmental leadership and vote to ban fracking during the upcoming session.
Just a few hours later, the Baltimore City Council approved a resolution calling on state legislators to pass a fracking ban in 2017. Baltimore City is the most populous jurisdiction to pass an anti-fracking measure so far in Maryland, following Montgomery, Prince George’s, Frederick, and Anne Arundel counties. Even the towns of Mountain Lake Park and Friendsville in Garrett County have opted to protect their communities--evidence that the movement to ban fracking in the state continues to build momentum.
Actions continued on Tuesday. In Frederick, over 150 activists marched to oppose fracking show solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. In Calvert County, residents rallied in Prince Frederick, where state legislators attended a public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters. Fracking was the hot topic at the forum: constituents urged Senate President Mike Miller, Senator Steve Waugh, and Delegates Mark Fisher, Michael Jackson, and Jerry Clark to support legislation to ban fracking during the upcoming session. Activists also hosted film screenings on Tuesday, bringing people together in Baltimore, Laurel, Silver Spring and College Park.
On Wednesday, dozens of Allegany County residents attended a forum with state legislators, where fracking was once again the most discussed issue. Everyone commenting on the issue spoke out against drilling and demanded that their representatives reflect that position in Annapolis. Western Maryland residents and activists continue to lead the charge against fracking and are organizing to protect their communities from the harmful impacts of fracking.
The week wrapped up online, as hundreds took to social media for the first #FrackFreeFriday. Posting photos, videos, and messages to legislators, we demonstrated the breadth and passion of our movement to ban fracking.
Opposition to fracking in Maryland has never been stronger, but the big fight is still ahead of us. As more and more people learn about the dangers of fracking, we will continue to take action across the state and demand that our elected officials protect the our water, health, and climate.