Zoning Ordinance Bans Fracking and the Transport of Fracking Waste Countywide; Directly Addresses Impact on Environmental and Public Health
The Prince George’s County Council, during Council session on Tuesday, April 12, unanimously approved Council Bill 3-2016, legislation prohibiting hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, in Prince George’s County.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process used to extract natural gas by pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to break apart rock and release gas. Scientific evidence shows that chemicals used in fracturing may pose a threat to groundwater when waste fluids are handled and sometimes spilled on the surface.
Council Members Mary Lehman (D) – District 1, Deni Taveras (D) – District 2, Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros (D) – District 3, Todd Turner (D) – District 4, and Mel Franklin (D) – District 9, proposed the legislation in direct response to the detrimental economic, environmental, and public health effects of fracking on Prince George’s County and its residents.
“By passing a fracking ban without exception, Prince George’s County is once again leading the state and the nation in efforts to protect our quality of life, and the health of our planet,” said Council Member Lehman. “Now it’s up to the Maryland General Assembly to follow our lead and ban fracking in the state of Maryland once and for all.”
Environmentalists, public health advocates and citizen activists have expressed a growing concern over the adverse effects of fracking on drinking water supplies, and the production of potentially dangerous methane and greenhouse gas emissions. Home to over 4,500 wells used for water, irrigation and farming, Prince George’s County faced significant risk of contamination and environmental hazards resulting from fracking activity.
Council Member Turner, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Housing and Environment (THE) Committee, says with this action, the Council has taken a proactive stance to protecting communities from this unproven and unsafe practice.
“I am glad to join with my Council colleagues in sending a strong message that we consider the fracking process as one that can create detrimental consequences to our community and our environment.”
With the adoption of Council Bill 3-2016, Prince George’s County becomes the first jurisdiction in the state of Maryland to impose a combined countywide ban on fracking and the transport of fracking waste.