ANNAPOLIS–While at least 60 opponents of hydraulic fracturing gathered on Lawyer’s Mall for a protest rally Thursday, a Maryland Senate bill that would establish a moratorium on fracking was delayed in the state Senate.
The Senate postponed a second reading for the bill, which would ban hydraulic fracturing for at least two years in the state, while the Senate Education, Health and Environment committee tries to conform a similar House bill to mirror it.
The Senate bill, sponsored by Senator Karen S. Montgomery, D-Montgomery, would require the state to develop drilling regulations by October 2016 that would effectively prohibit fracturing until at least October 2017.
It differs from the House bill, which would place a three-year pause on hydraulic fracturing, an environmentally controversial but lucrative drilling process. Sponsored by Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, D-Montgomery, that bill establishes a 10-member panel that would review potential public health effects and recommend whether the state could drill safely.
The Senate on Thursday also passed bills that would create a commission to evaluate the state’s long-term medical assistance care; establish a three-year alliance center to improve community inclusion and provide educator training programs for people with mental and developmental disabilities; and limit advertising of junk and scrap metal processing to those licensed to do so.