Kick-Off for Ban on Fracking to be Held at Frostburg's City Place PDF Print E-mail
Our Blue Earth - Our Blue Earth
Written by Nadine Grabania   
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:49

ban frackingA western Maryland kick-off for those wanting to be involved in the Maryland General Assembly debate to ban fracking begins at 3:00 PM on Sunday at Frostburg’s City Place. The all-ages event hosted by Citizen Shale and the state-wide Don't Frack Maryland Coalition is free and open to the public. (RSVP at


A series of speakers, including elected officials, investigative journalists and educators, will present on topics ranging from water contamination and health impacts of fracking to how citizens can take action in Annapolis.  A light dinner will be served. The program is expected to wrap up around 6:30 PM followed by live music. Those who will attend the legislative meetings and rally in Annapolis on March 2 are encouraged to attend. 


Both the House and Senate introduced bills earlier this month to ban shale gas development.  The bills have attracted the sponsorship of some 90 legislators as concerns mount that fracking in Maryland’s shale plays will cause harm.


“As a member of the General Assembly, it is my responsibility to make sure Maryland communities are protected from the environmental, public health and safety threats posed by fracking,” said Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-15), the lead sponsor of the Ban bill in the House of Delegates. “I’m proud to be introducing legislation banning fracking once and for all. This bill will protect our communities and the environment of Maryland.”  


Plans are in the works to connect via Skype with legislative champions who will provide an overview of fracking bills under consideration and discuss ways western Maryland citizens can and should participate in the decision-making process in Annapolis. The General Assembly has set hearing dates for the bills that would ban fracking statewide: Feb. 22 for House Bill 1325 and Feb. 29 for Senate Bill 740.


Environmental organizations from around the region will provide table displays and present information about how fracking is harming other communities, to show what Maryland must avoid.  "The negative impacts to health, the environment, and the economy are irrefutable at this point; the only resolution to this six-year debate that polls show most Marylanders support is a permanent ban on fracking," said Natalie Atherton, a founding member of Citizen Shale, one of the local groups organizing the event.


There will also be photo-ops, petitioning stations, and sign-making materials so that people can get ready to attend the Rally and March to ban fracking in Annapolis on March 2.


The lineup of programs begins with Brooke Harper of Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  Ms. Harper will explain how citizens who meet with legislators can hone "talking points" and explain potential harms if the legislation does not pass this session.  Other short presentations will include “Fracking 101” with Annie Bristow, PhD; “Walking the Talk” with Kimb Alexander of Water Walk MD on her walk to raise awareness on fracking’s harms to water; and “Is this what we want for Maryland?” with Nadine Grabania of Citizen Shale, who will reprise her January address to the Environmental Summit in Annapolis.


Josh Pribanic, who operates Public Herald news service in western Pennsylvania, will also be on hand to present his organization's five-year investigation of the state environmental regulatory agency's failure to disclose some 4,000 complaints of water contamination from fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.


The evening will end with food and music by local musicians, including Rob Smith, Beau Hartman, Dan Bourdeaux, and Kim Alexander.  The Water is Life chorus, a grassroots group based in Friendsville will teach attendees the lyrics to two songs that will be sung during the March 2 action in Annapolis.  


"The purpose of this ban launch is to ready western Marylanders to advocate for the solution that is best for all of us," said Annie Bristow, a Frack-Free Frostburg organizer and long-time ban advocate. She invites everyone to sign up for buses that will carry western Marylanders to Annapolis on March 2 for the giant rally being planned. "The City Place event will prime citizens for our journey."


This educational event and celebration of the growing movement to ban fracking in Maryland will take place this Sunday, February 19 from 3pm-8pm at Frostburg City Place, 14 South Water Street, Frostburg, MD 21532.


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