Frostburg Approves Fracking Ban Measures, Becoming the Largest Western Md. City to Protect Water from Toxic Drilling
City Council approves measures to ban fracking on city-owned land near critical water supplies and to ban the sale of water for fracking
Frostburg, Md. — The city of Frostburg tonight became the largest municipality in western Maryland to take local action to ban fracking. The Frostburg City Council voted unanimously to approve two measures designed to protect local water supplies from the toxic drilling practice. The Garrett County towns of Friendsville and Mountain Lake Park have also banned fracking.
The first Frostburg measure bans fracking on city-owned land in neighboring Garrett County that supplies the drinking water of thousands of Allegany County citizens. The second measure bans bulk sales of water by the city for the purposes of fracking. Both measures will go into effect after 15 days.
The vote followed months of organizing by the citizens’ group Frack-Free Frostburg, which gathered over 700 petitions and turned out hundreds of residents to rallies and hearings.
“Frostburg residents have sought out this citizens’ campaign, and the movement built over time,” said Kathy Powell, a Frostburg business co-owner and founding member of Frack-Free Frostburg. “We thank city officials for listening to their constituents and taking action to protect the city and our water supply from the harms of fracking.”
Frostburg joins a growing statewide movement of counties, cities, and citizens working to ban fracking across Maryland as the 2017 General Assembly session nears.
More than a dozen localities in Maryland have now approved or introduced measures to either ban fracking locally or to endorse a permanent, statewide ban. The list includes the western Maryland towns of Friendsville and Mountain Lake Park, the counties of Prince George’s, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Frederick, and the cities of Baltimore, Rockville, and Greenbelt.
“With a local ban saying ‘NO’ to fracking, we aren’t just saying ‘YES’ to a better quality of life — we are making sure it happens,” said Kit Pepper, a supporter of the Frostburg campaign. “We hope this provides a further push to state leaders to protect all of Maryland’s communities from fracking’s water pollution, compromised air quality, and poisoned, toxic well sites.”
Polling shows that, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters across Maryland support statewide legislation to ban fracking. Unless the General Assembly passes a permanent, statewide ban next year, Governor Larry Hogan’s administration could allow fracking to begin after October 2017, when the state’s moratorium will expire.
“A groundswell of support is building across Maryland to ban fracking,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Field Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and whose family roots are in Frostburg. “In 2017, it’s time for the General Assembly to follow the lead of western Maryland citizens and cities like Frostburg and pass a permanent, statewide ban.”