A bill to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland cleared a major hurdle Wednesday, days after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) surprised advocates by endorsing the ban.

The state Senate’s environmental committee voted 8-3 in favor of the House bill, with one of the panel’s four Republicans joining all seven Democrats. The measure, which has 23 sponsors, now advances to the full Senate, where it would need at least 24 votes to pass.

If Maryland bans fracking, it would be the third state to do so, joining New York and Vermont.

Advocates successfully fought an amendment that would have required a statewide referendum in 2018 to determine how voters feel about the ban on fracking, a natural-gas extraction method formally known as hydraulic fracturing.

Critics said the referendums would provide an opportunity for the oil-and-gas industry to run ads against the ban and drum up support for repealing it.

Environmental and anti-fracking groups applauded Wednesday’s committee vote.

“Mountain Maryland residents and citizens across our state have for years raised alarm over fracking’s potential to contaminate water and air, to cause earthquakes, and to harm public health and safety,” Citizen Shale said in a statement. “With this vote, we can breathe a little easier.”