Key state senator says fracking ban doubtful | WYPR

Key state senator says fracking ban doubtful

Jan 27, 2017

Anti-fracking activists protest outside Sen. Joan Carter Conway's Baltimore office.
Credit Rachel Baye

If Maryland lawmakers want to pass a fracking ban during the General Assembly’s current session, they need to get it past Baltimore Sen. Joan Carter Conway, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees environmental legislation. And as Conway told a room full of environmental activists in Annapolis on Thursday, that that’s not likely.

Conway made the comments before a standing-room only crowd, including many people carrying signs advocating for a ban on the controversial drilling practice.

“Will I pass out a ban from my committee? I doubt very seriously. What I will probably pass out and look at is a moratorium,” she said, prompting loud booing. “You cannot get a ban off of the Senate floor. Simple as that.”

She said she is not a fan of fracking, but she expressed doubts that any oil companies would ever find drilling in Maryland worthwhile. As a result, a ban isn’t necessary, she said, advocating instead for “platinum standard” regulations.

House Speaker Michael Busch, who also spoke at the event, said a ban is more likely to pass the House. At minimum, he said he expects the House to tighten regulations or pass a moratorium.