More than 1,000 people marched in Annapolis to call for a ban on fracking. // photo by Nadine Grabania of CitizenShale

The week after our HUGE march and rally in Annapolis, the House of Delegates passed its BAN FRACKING bill on a 97-40 bipartisan vote. Abundant thanks to our delegates in Howard County: Terry Hill, Eric Ebersole and Clarence Lam of District 12; Vanessa Atterbeary, Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner of District 13; and Robert Flanagan of District 9B. News coverage of the vote here, here, here and here -- and of a Western Maryland delegate's conflict of interest here.

The anti-fracking movement across the country is watching Maryland. Passing a fracking ban here would be a huge victory for our movement and would send a message to the president and the fossil fuel industry that we won’t let them poison our communities and destroy our climate.
Now all eyes turn to the Senate, where Senate Bill 740 languishes in committee. Be sure to call your state senator (Look up your senator)
District 9: Gail Bates at 410-841-3671
District 12: Edward Kasemeyer at 410-841-3653.
District 13: Guy Guzzone is a sponsor of the ban bill. Thank him at 410-841-3572

ALSO, everyone, please call gatekeeper and Senate President Mike Miller at 888-997-5380. He determines whether the ban bill gets a vote.
(By the way, don't let your legislators be distracted or fooled by the moratorium/referendum bill, SB 862, a thinly disguised measure to bring fracking to Maryland.) And here's a blog post, written by a HoCo Climate Action member with many reasons to ban fracking. The Don't Frack MD coalition, of which HoCo is a member, has been posting REASONS to ban fracking every day of the General Assembly session. Be sure to check out the #90for90 Reasons memes and then share on FB and Twitter. 

Thursday, March 16, 9:30 a.m.
To make sure Senate leaders know we are serious about a BAN, faith leaders and western Maryland residents are planning peaceful civil disobedience on the steps of the State House on Thursday morning, March 16. The Facebook event page is here. All are welcome to support this action.

Every day, do one thing to help keep Maryland frack-free. Snail-mail, email or call your legislators (here). Sign and share the petition to ban fracking. Unless the General Assembly acts by April 10, our 30-month fracking moratorium will expire in October and these sorry regulations would go into effect.

A FEW FRACKING UPDATES: A new study has found an association between childhood leukemia and nearby fracking in Colorado. Another study has found a steep rise in methane in fracked PA. The PA Department of Environmental Protection has found a link between fracking in Lawrence County and a series of small earthquakes. The Public Herald continues to release information about ignored complaints in fracked PA. The Montgomery County Council recently approved a resolution calling for a ban on fracking in Maryland. And be sure to read The Baltimore Sun editorial board also backs a ban on fracking.

HoCo Climate Action  (formerly HoCo Climate Change and Climate Change Initiative of Howard County) is an all-volunteer group of Howard County citizens working to reduce Howard County's carbon footprint and to promote a clean energy future. We can't do it alone. We need your help. Explore our website to learn ways you can get involved, through discussion circles, advocacy, local events, and more. As the historian Howard Zinn said, "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."  We are a local 350.org group.
                          PLEASE join our E-News list to get emails about our activities and area climate action. Our website isn't as current as our Facebook page and our e-newslettersFill out mail form here or email us at: hococlimatechange@gmail.com to get our e-newsletter. (You can expect emails about twice a month).    
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 What Can You Do?

There are many ways to get involved.   

You can reduce your carbon footprint by 8.5 METRIC TONS per year in less than 15 minutes, by signing up for clean wind energy now. 

Check out energy savings from your utility -   BGE  here or Allegheny Energy/Potomac Edi­son (now part of FirstEnergyCorp)  here.
Discussion circles meet to read articles on climate change and discuss the information.  These discussion circles are an excellent way to meet other people in the community who are interested in climate change. 
We also need volunteers to help with numerous activities including

·         Starting new discussion groups

·         Facilitating discussion groups

·         Updating the HoCo Climate Change web site

·         Writing/editing announcements

·         Writing articles for the web site and blogs

·         Advocating for climate change solutions

Climate change is happening faster than we all anticipated.

The time to act is now.