This evening, June 27, 2016, Dr. Margaret Flowers will join organizers from Food and Water Watch Maryland and other groups to show opposition to Governor Larry Hogan's plans to open Maryland for gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") as early as 2017.
"There is no safe way to frack," said Dr. Flowers, the Green Party's nominee for the Senate seat left open by the retirement of Barbara Mikulski. "The basic technique of fracking - pumping chemical-filled water deep underground - poisons aquifers and the air. Fracking has been documented to be harmful to our health, as well as to worsen the climate crisis, and needs to be permanently banned in Maryland."
A moratorium on the practice was passed by the General Assembly in 2015 but it set to expire at the end of this year. Under the Hogan administration, the Maryland Department of the Environment is preparing regulations that would allow fracking with faster permitting and looser buffer rules than had been previously drafted by the O'Malley administration.
"Regulations may delay a major environmental catastrophe for a few weeks, months, or even a year," said Flowers. "But there is only one way to ensure that a significant groundwater contamination never happens in Maryland - ban fracking permanently and invest in clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar."
While proponents of fracking point to studies indicating economic benefits from increasing gas exploration, Margaret Flowers and other anti-fracking activists point to studies such as one produced by the Political Economy Research Institute and University of Massachusetts indicating that a transition to a clean-energy economy could result in nearly two million new jobs and an economic output of $150 billion annually.
"Investment in a completely clean, renewable economy is good for the environment, good for Maryland workers looking for high-paying jobs in a high-tech industry, and is good for the economy in general. That's why I stand with hundreds of Maryland groups demanding a ban on fracking and full investment in the green economy."
Flowers is also active in working to stop construction of a gas refinery and export terminal in Southern Maryland that would drive more fracking throughout the Marcellus and Utica shales. The gas refinery also puts thousands of people in the surrounding town of Lusby at risk of health problems from the associated pollution and a catastrophic event such as a chemical spill, fire or explosion. Members of that community are circulating a petition calling on Governor Hogan to order a Quantitative Risk Assessment which would define the dangers. Click here to sign that petition.
Margaret Flowers Featured in Green Party's National Earth Day Statement