Friday, August 5, 2016

Maryland’s Coming Fracking Showdown

Can Maryland really turn down all that money?
As Maryland awaits a green light for fracking to begin, other states are reaping an economic bonanza. According to a 2011 Penn State study, just over the border to the north, that state’s Marcellus Shale producers generated an estimated $12.8 billion in economic activity in 2011. Over multiple years the extra income translates to almost $2.6 billion in additional state and local tax revenue. Ohio has added 6,000 jobs and over $400 million in new tax revenues.

Beyond the economic benefits, however, environmentalists should applaud the changes that the U.S. has been able to achieve as a result of fracking. Groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) have all attributed the 27 year low in CO2 emissions to the transition in U.S. energy sourcing away from dirtier coal, made possible by fracking and the increased use of natural gas.

However starting in 2011, Gov. Martin O’Malley blocked fracking and ordered a three-year moratorium while a state advisory committee “studied” the issue. Since O’Malley’s study period “expired,” during the 2015 session, the legislature imposed a further delay that prevented the state from issuing fracking permits until October 1, 2017.

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