MARYLAND GOV. Martin O’Malley (D) plans to lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” next month, regulating rather than prohibiting a controversial drilling process that energy companies have used to retrieve massive quantities of natural gas from shale rock formations. But Western Maryland landowners looking for drilling royalties and local laborers looking for jobs should check their excitement. The rules that the outgoing governor plans to impose on Maryland fracking would be so tough that they would make it impossible for drilling to begin in the next two years and would diminish the likelihood that operations will happen in earnest after that.
Larry Hogan, the incoming Republican governor, has promised to review “every single one” of Mr. O’Malley’s regulations. That’s warranted — but his review should be based on the evidence. He must take care not to go too far in the other direction, scrapping many good proposed rules because some might be too strict.
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