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Fracking Bill fails

April 14th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

A bill that would have provided protection from fracking operations through liability and chemical disclosure died in Maryland's House of Delegates despite passing the Senate. The Cumberland Times News reports  legislation also garnered 450 signatures in support and the backing of 90 Western Maryland businesses, according to Engage Mountain Maryland, a volunteer group with the goal of bringing awareness to the Appalachian region of Maryland.

Called the Hydraulic Fracturing Liability Act, the bill would have made holders of fracking permits responsible should injury, death or loss of property occur. It was sponsored by Sens. Jamie Raskin and Bobby Zirkin. Engage Mountain Maryland partnered with the senators to collect signatures in support of the legislation.

The bill would have provided that a permittee be strictly liable for loss to person or property caused by the hydraulic fracturing activities of the permittee. It also would have required every holder of a permit to drill for gas or oil to have comprehensive general liability insurance coverage and environmental pollution liability insurance. 

Engage Mountain Maryland is planning to support similar legislation during the 2017 January legislative session, according to its website, prior to when the October 2017 ban ends on fracking. 

Marcellus shale formations throughout the eastern U.S. harbor large natural gas reserves. Shale is a sedimentary rock formation that extends underground through about 95,000 square miles in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. In Maryland, the shale formations are found only in Allegany and Garrett counties, with the bulk of the formations in Garrett County.

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