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"I support a total ban on fracking"

A recent letter to the editor of the Frederick News Post questioned why I co-sponsored two different fracking bills. I would like to explain.

I support a total ban (SB740) on fracking in Maryland.

I would like to see it banned until, when and if:

• Fracking can be proven to be totally safe,

• Fracking can be done without using such large quantities of fresh water,

• All of the environmental concerns and problems can be completely addressed, and

• Fracking can occur without destroying tourism in Western Maryland where the state has spent tens of millions of dollars on outdoor recreation.

I question whether all of these concerns can ever be satisfied.

The political and practical side of the issue is there may be enough votes to pass the total ban, however, I do not believe there are enough votes to override the Governor’s veto of a total ban bill like SB740.

If a total ban bill passes both chambers, the Governor vetoes it, and there are not enough votes to override the veto, we are left with no protections on October 1, 2017.

I co-sponsored the other bill (SB862) so that there would be at least a two year moratorium, which could be extended again in the future. That would continue to provide some protections. I believe there would be enough votes to override a veto on this bill. This bill also contains a provision for a county by county referendum on fracking.

I would like to see the bill amended to a state-wide vote, which I believe would pass thus banning fracking in Maryland.

My support of the two year moratorium is not a backing away from the total ban. I strongly support a total ban. I just don’t want to find us in the position of having no legislation and allowing the fracking interests to move forward unhindered if SB740 is not successful.

Senator Ronald N. Young

Published in the Frederick News Post and Envision Frederick

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