This is it: We have officially made history.
Last night, the Senate voted 35 to 10 to ban fracking statewide in Maryland. The bill will be sent to Governor Hogan’s desk to be signed in a matter of days. We are now the third state to ban fracking and the first state with gas reserves to pass a legislative ban. This is the most environmentally significant bill that Maryland has ever passed. Period.
As I write this, I can barely see the computer screen as my eyes keep welling up with tears. This has been the most personal, grueling, and gratifying campaign that I have ever worked on.
As a Western Marylander, the stakes on this campaign were enormous. If we failed, we would have opened up my family’s land and community to the dangers of fracking — contaminating our water, risking birth defects in our children, and scarring the natural beauty of Western Maryland.
Today, we proved that grassroots power can overcome partisan politics and Big Oil and Gas if we organize and work together for a common purpose.
When I first began this campaign, I learned about my grandfather’s activism in Western Maryland. He led sit-ins to bring racial integration to local restaurants and community pools in Frostburg. He did this to protect his seven sons and one daughter so that they could live a life that was just and free of harm. When I began organizing in Frostburg, I carried his spirit with me.
And today, I can proudly say I carried on his legacy of protecting his family. But we could not have done it without each of you. You gave your time, your efforts, and your passion to secure a better future for my family and for all of Maryland. From the start, each of you worked to build a movement that secured this victory.
Thank you to the residents of Frostburg, where over 800 of you signed petitions and hundreds of you rallied and urged your city council to ban fracking.
Thank you to the citizens of Bel Air, who rallied in the freezing cold and told your city council all you wanted for the holidays was for them to ban fracking.
Thank you to Frederick County activists, who met with your local officials and did not relent until they supported a statewide ban.
Thanks to each of you in Friendsville and across Western Maryland, who were met with harsh criticisms and shouted down by your legislators for standing strong to keep your communities safe from fracking.
Thank you to the countless local officials who stood up against fracking in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Charles County, College Park, Friendsville, Frederick County, Frostburg, Greenbelt, Mountain Lake Park, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.
Thanks to each of you who called, wrote your legislators, lobbied in Annapolis and were part of the rally where over a thousand people took to the streets in Annapolis to demand an unfractured future for generations to come.
Thank you to the “Annapolis 13” who were peacefully arrested and helped carry the message to our state Senate that we would not compromise on a ban.
And thanks to each of you who had unwavering faith that sometimes David can beat Goliath. You pushed forward the notion that grassroots organizing can truly change the world.
Because it has.
Please take a moment to thank each and every one of our legislators who cast a “yes” vote after YOU made your voices heard.