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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to Maryland Legislature Passing Fracking Ban

March 29, 2017

"Maryland’s legislators, and its governor by signing the bill, chose image over substance and alarmism over realism in banning fracking." - H. Sterling Burnett

This week, the Maryland General Assembly and State Senate passed a bill to ban the practice known as hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking,” sending the decision off to Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) desk. Hogan has been supportive of the ban and is expected to sign it into law.

The following statements from environment and energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact New Media Specialist Billy Aouste at and 312/377-4000.

“Despite the overwhelming amount of scientific data that demonstrates hydraulic fracturing, when done correctly, is environmentally safe, Maryland legislators have voted to ban natural gas development from happening in the state.

“Western Maryland sits atop a small portion of the Marcellus Shale, the largest producing natural gas formation in the country. Until now, a moratorium enacted in Maryland has meant no hydraulic fracturing has occurred in the state.

“Hogan’s decision to sign on to the fracking ban is likely a political one. There is currently no hydraulic fracturing occurring in Maryland, and low natural gas prices mean it is unlikely that natural gas producers would be looking to drill in Western Maryland any time in the next few years.

“Still, the decision to ban the practice is a departure from the best-available science and is therefore indefensible.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

“Maryland’s legislators, and its governor by signing the bill, chose image over substance and alarmism over realism in banning fracking.

“Experience in multiple states as well as numerous research studies – including some conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – show fracking can and is being done in a way that causes no harm to the environment or human health, while providing an economic boost to local economies that host fracking operations and the nation’s energy security as a whole.

“Banning fracking is a political stunt, a payoff to big green lobbyists, and a violation of citizens’ property rights. The ban will make nearby states that allow fracking – Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – more attractive to investors.

“Everybody loses by Maryland’s fracking ban, except the grandstanding politicians who passed the measure and their environmental cronies. Maryland’s residents and business community deserve better than this. Fracking increases employment, and those jobs carry high wages. In addition, fracking boosts government revenues in states where it takes place, so the ban will cost Maryland’s taxpayers as well.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News

“It was sad to see a great governor like Larry Hogan knuckle under to the advocates of a hydraulic fracturing ban in Maryland. There is simply no scientific justification for banning hydraulic fracturing. EPA’s own $29-million, six-year study of fracking’s impact on groundwater sources failed to find any systemic impact on groundwater caused by the 110,000 oil and natural gas wells that have been in use across the country since 2011. At least 15 peer-reviewed studies since 2010 have reached the same conclusion as EPA.

“The fracking process has transformed the energy outlook of the United States over the past decade, and the rise of shale gas as a replacement for coal has been primarily responsible for the United States now enjoying its lowest level of carbon-dioxide emissions since 1989. Hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas has enabled us to exploit cost-effective and abundant supplies, and using those resources can ensure the United States is the world’s largest energy producer well beyond the twenty-first century. However, this won’t be the case if more states follow Maryland’s ill-considered, ill-advised lead.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

“Maryland joins New York in banning hydraulic fracturing. While it is encouraging to see blue states embrace federalism (the fly-over states welcome you to the fold), it is sad when policymakers cave to fake science, bluster, and scare tactics at the expense of their citizens.

“Public policy should be based on facts, and the simple fact is that there is no evidence that fracking threatens our water or our air. EPA, which has been known to stretch the truth to push an agenda, found no evidence of harm from fracking. To the contrary, for anyone concerned about carbon dioxide levels, the horizontal drilling revolution has actually reduced CO2.

“Maryland is free to chart its own course, but the policymakers and citizens in Maryland should understand that the anti-fracking activists are well-funded and they will not rest on this victory. They will be back, so hold on to your wallets.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

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Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment on mining and energy issues and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @thefrackingguy
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department. @HeartlandGR
Bette Grande is a State Government Relations Manager at The Heartland Institute. Prior to coming to Heartland, she served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014, representing the 41st district. @BetteGrande