Ban fracking in Maryland

Maryland is on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

Gov. Larry Hogan's signing of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act represents a major bipartisan accomplishment in the effort to stop climate change ("Hogan signs bills to help environment, children of slain Harford deputy," April 4).

Maryland is now on track to cut emissions 40 percent below 2006 levels before 2030. As scientific warnings on the potentially catastrophic impact of global warming become more dire by the day, one must hope that Maryland will speed up the pace of reductions and set even more ambitious goals in the future. Nevertheless, the new emissions reduction plan and its proponents should be celebrated for this achievement.

There's just one problem: Any attempt to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions will be hamstrung by the continued extraction of fossil fuels. The Hogan administration is currently developing regulations to allow hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, for natural gas in Maryland beginning in late 2017. Recent studies have shown that drilling and fracking for natural gas can be just as damaging to the climate as burning coal.

So how can we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent while fracking for gas at the same time? We can't. The only way to meet Maryland's emissions reduction goals and protect Maryland residents from the toxic natural gas industry is to ban fracking.

Jean Cushman, Towson

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