Maryland has official banned hydraulic fracturing (fracking) after Governor Larry Hogan decided not to veto it.
The ban will last for two and a half years and requires that the State write standards to regulate the practise when the ban expires.
Maryland is the second state in recent months to ban fracking. New York recently filed the final paperwork to ban fracking, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) pledged last year.
There has been little demand for fracking in Maryland since the practice took off nationally in certain areas of oil and natural gas shale deposits.
But neighboring Pennsylvania has been one of the most active states for fracking thanks to the Marcellus shale formation, and West Virginia has also hosted fracking.
A portion of the shale formation crosses into western Maryland’s panhandle region.
A spokeswoman for Hogan told the Maryland Daily Record Friday that he would not take action on the bill the state House and Senate passed in May with veto-proof margins.
Under Maryland’s constitution, the law took effect Saturday due to Hogan’s inaction.
Environmentalists applauded Hogan’s decision.
Maryland officials are working on fracking rules, and proposed strict standards last year under Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).
“Gov. Hogan is rightly following the will of the public in allowing Maryland’s first statutory moratorium on fracking to become law,” Shilpa Joshi, Maryland campaign coordinator at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said in a statement.
“I am relieved and delighted that Gov. Hogan will allow mine and Delegate [David] Fraser-Hidalgo’s bill for a two-year moratorium on fracking to become law without his signature,” said Sen. Karen Montgomery (D), the sponsor of the fracking ban.