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Don't Forget "One Maryland!"

The letter below was submitted to the Republican newspaper

To the Editor: For the most part, Sen. George Edwards does a tremendous job for his constituents. On the issue of his unwavering support for high volume hydraulic fracturing with lateral drilling (“fracking”), as another senator said of her colleague, Sen. Edwards is wrong.

Not only does he not represent the majority of Western Marylanders who want to keep fracking out of their state, but he seems to contradict his own adamant support for the "One Maryland" philosophy endorsed by Gov. Hogan in state policy-making.

In a Baltimore Sun op-ed published on 8/9/2015, co-written by Del. Robert Flanagan (Howard County), Sen. Edwards states, “Our state can thrive economically if we remember that we are all neighbors and that we all want to meet the needs of our respective counties and municipalities, not at the expense of one another, but as ‘One Maryland.’”

It is mystifying, then, why Sen. Edwards supports Senate Bill 862, which seeks a fracking moratorium and a county-by-county referendum, as it is a harsh contradiction to the “One Maryland” philosophy. A moratorium will perpetuate the looming cloud of fracking that is slowing economic growth and deterring investment in Garrett County while interested parties await a firm decision on fracking.

How can this be good for Western Maryland and for the state in general that relies on economic growth here? With a localized referendum, many citizens would be denied the opportunity to weigh in on issues that impact all Marylanders. The impacts of fracking one community do not stop at the county line and would affect neighboring counties that voted against fracking, with water, air, food supply, and other contamination and health issues.

Emergencies on state highways and cleanup of environmental impacts in the future will be a massive burden on the state budget. Specifically, if Garrett County is fracked, the state stands to lose significant revenue generated by our tourism industry in which the state invested millions of dollars in past years.

Additionally, county tax records show over 19,000 properties are not locally owned. Investors who live in Maryland have a right to vote on the issue that could impact their property values, especially since they generate over 60% of the county tax base. SB862 definitely does not support the “One Maryland” philosophy Sen. Edwards has advanced.

The way to support the health and prosperity of a “One Maryland” is to pass Senate Bill 740 which would prohibit fracking in Maryland. #DontFrackMd

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