More Than 40 National, State and Local Organizations Delivers Letter to Governor O’Malley
Washington, D.C. – Today, Americans Against Fracking, along with over 40 leading national, state, and grassroots organizations, delivered a letter to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s office condemning his decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in Maryland. The signatories include Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, DailyKos, Food & Water Watch, MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, and Environmental Action, and Environment America. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Governor O’Malley announced that his administration would release regulations on fracking, pronouncing that he believes fracking can be done safely, as outlined in a report, which the organizations argue is extremely flawed.
In their letter, the groups argue that even the best regulations will not ameliorate all of the risks associated with fracking, and that there should be no acceptable level of contamination allowed in Maryland. They also criticize the timing of the announcement, as O’Malley released this final fracking report only one week after the comment period closed on a critical risk assessment, arguing that one week is not enough time to review the over 6,000 public and technical comments.
The letter argued that this decision was political on Governor O’Malley’s part and not based on science. Further, the decision is out of step with the desires of most Marylanders and most Americans. A recent Goucher poll showed that 58 percent of residents who were familiar with fracking believe that the process is harmful to the environment; 52 percent of those familiar with fracking support a ban. A PEW poll issued this November found that a 47% plurality of Americans, 59% of Democrats and 53% of Independents nationally oppose increased fracking. The letter argues that opening up Maryland to fracking is “neither responsible nor progressive; nor does it demonstrate national leadership.”
“Governor O’Malley can tout his ‘Gold Standard’ of fracking regulations all he wants, but the fact is that, unless he reverses this decision, he will be leaving the governorship with a pro-fracking, pro contamination, pro-big oil and gas legacy,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “This decision does not bode well for his national aspirations. While it may help him attract donations from oil and gas interests, it will only alienate the progressive base he so desperately needs to win the nomination.”
“By proposing new regulations that will allow fracking to come to Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley is proving himself to be just another politician who can be bought off by the Wall Street-funded oil and gas interests who want to put the health of millions at risk to make a quick buck,” Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America commented. “After watching him cave to these special interests, its no wonder Governor O’Malley is struggling to get the grassroots base interested in his potential presidential campaign. When you’re thinking about running for President, you’ve got to give activists a reason to consider supporting your campaign. By making this boneheaded move on fracking, O’Malley has given the Democrats’ dedicated boots-on-the-ground one good reason to take their support elsewhere.”
“It sure looks like Governor O’Malley believes that chasing oil industry money will further his presidential ambitions,” said Kate DeAngelis, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “There is no other explanation for sacrificing the health of Marylanders and the environment to pad fossil fuel company profits.”
Allison Fisher, Outreach Director for Public Citizen’s Energy and Climate Program said this about the Governor’s announcement, “In his decision to jump on the fracking bandwagon Governor O’Malley has abandoned the interest and well-being of Marylanders in favor of his own political ambitions – it’s deplorable.”
“Governor O’Malley knows that climate leaders don’t frack, but he’s trying to hide his blatant choice to side with drillers and extreme energy behind a fig leaf of promised regulation,” said Drew Hudson, Director of Environmental Action. “Well I’m not fooled and Democrats across the country won’t be fooled either. And the people in Maryland about to have their air, water and climate fracked are most certainly not fooled. As a native son of Baltimore I have one message for the Governor: You blew it O’Malley.”
“We have all the information we need to make a decision on fracking – we know that the practice threatens public health and our climate, and we must stop the relentless push by the oil and gas industry to expand this disastrous and dirty legacy,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Progressive Democrats of America is deeply disappointed in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to fast track fracking, abandoning the wide consensus supporting a moratorium on this inherently dangerous and unnecessary practice,” said Mike Hersh, Communications Director for Progressive Democrats of America.
Contact: Ryanne Waters, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-4925, [email protected]