13 arrested in Annapolis fracking protest

On the 16th of March, 13 anti-fracking activists were arrested in front of the MD statehouse as they demanded the Senate pass a statewide, permanent ban on gas fracking. The bill has passed the House of Delegates by a veto-proof margin, but state Sen Mike Miller is reportedly sitting on the bill in the Senate. In addition, state Sen. Joan Carter Conway is suspected of planning to keep it off the agenda in the MD state Senate’s Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

There is a March 20 deadline known as “Crossover Day” by which bills must get out of at least one house of the MD legislature to have a chance of getting to the governor’s desk. The fracking ban has passed in the House of Delegates, but there are fears that the bill could die if Joan Carter Conway prevents a committee vote prior to March 20 anyway.

The gas industry lobbyists have been so brazen they have gotten a number of Western MD House of Delegates members to propose a 25% tax on renewable energy to fund “restitution” for lost profits if the fracking ban passes the state Senate. This is the sort of proposal that would be expected equally from Trump and from supporters of NAFTA/TPP style trade deals.

With Trump in office and prosecutors attempting to crush dissent with maximalist charges, it is a show of extreme courage that anyone would consider in-the-open civil disobedience with the expectation of arrest at this time. Days after the Inauguration, the Greenpeace members that dropped the “Resist” banner from a crane near the White House were charged with serious felonies. This on top of the unlawful mass arrest and felony riot charges against over 200 protesters at the Inauguration itself.

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