A state ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is gaining momentum in the Maryland General Assembly.
HB 1325, which proclaims that "a person may not engage in the hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of oil or natural gas in the state," passed 97-40 in Maryland's House of Delegates Friday.
The bill's lead sponsor is Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, a Democrat. The legislation now moves to the Senate for review.
If signed into law, the fracking ban would take effect Oct. 1, when a previously passed moratorium on the practice is set to expire.
Earlier this year, a panel of Maryland lawmakers reportedly asked the state's Department of the Environment (MDE) to delay implementing a set of proposed fracking regulations the agency submitted last September.
Only two western panhandle counties in Maryland -- Allegany and Garrett -- overlie the Marcellus Shale.
A February Goucher Poll, supported by Goucher College in Baltimore, found that 40% of Maryland residents surveyed opposed a state ban on fracking, with 36% supporting a ban and 24% unsure.