Fracking In California Under Spotlight As Some Local Municipalities Issue Bans

Maryland House passes 3 year moratorium on fracking

Last night, the Maryland House approved a bill that would put a three year moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” within the state. Now environmental advocates around the country are pressuring the state Senate to do the same. 

What may seem like a relatively unimpressive win — the ban is not permanent, and Maryland’s natural gas industry was already on the decline — is a big deal in the fight to take our country off of fossil fuels. Only Vermont and New York have banned the practice up until now, with significant pressure to get Jerry Brown to ban it in California as well.

Hydraulic fracking is how oil companies extract natural gas or petroleum stored deep underground. They shoot immense amounts of water deep into the earth, wasting precious resources and producing wastewater that must then be disposed of. In California, this wastewater is being left in unlined pits, or injected back into groundwater reserves the drought-ridden state could use for drinking or farming.

Fracking is awful for all of us, but marginalized people are often more vulnerable to its effects with less power to fight back or flee when their communities are hit. It’s women, low-income and folks of color who will suffer first and most when the water in California runs out. When fracking waste — and the toxic chemicals in it — seeps into our groundwater, these folks won’t be able to purchase bottled water to give their children. And it’s indigenous communities who are often shouldering the devastating effects the US’s various oil booms, which tend to increase violence against women, and sex and drug trafficking.

Indeed, the fossil fuel industry wouldn’t be able to profit they way that they do without dumping the cost of cleaning up their mess onto marginalized folks. If all of us were equally affected by fracking and resource extraction, every state would have banned this practice years ago. This is why, as Naomi Klein says in her latest book, This Changes Everything, “fighting inequality on every front and through multiple means must be understood as a central strategy in the battle against climate change.”

There’s still a ways to go in the fight to end fracking — the Maryland Senate needs to approve the bill for starters — but tonight I’m resting in awe of the work that the Davids and Davidas of the world are doing to protect us from the Goliath that is the fossil fuel industry. Consider this my stone, added to the sling.

Sign the petition pressuring the Maryland Senate to pass a fracking moratorium now.

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Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Campaigner at Change.org, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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