The Shale Gas Boom as Seen from Maryland

by Duane Nichols on May 29, 2015

Protest Cove Point LNG Project

Maryland Did It, Passing a 2.5 Year Ban on Fracking

By S. Tom Bond, Retired Chemistry Professor and Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV

They did it!  After years of study, in April, Maryland passed a two and a half year ban on fracking in the state. The vote was 102 to 34 in the House, 45 to 2 in the Senate, a margin making it veto proof. This was the third try.

There are now over 425 peer-reviewed articles on fracking, 73 percent of which have been published since the beginning of 2013. Hazards have been identified, but much remains to be be done, particularly in the area of “quantitative epidemiology that assesses associations between risk factors and human health outcomes among populations.” The pace of research is increasing, too.

One study, released by PSE Healthy Energy, found that 96 percent of all papers published on health outcomes point to possible negative impacts, that 87 percent of original research studies on health outcomes show potential risks, that 95 percent of original research studies on air quality show elevated levels of air pollutants and that 72 percent of original studies on water quality show actual or potential contamination.

The groundswell of opposition from Western Maryland, which is in the Marcellus area, is undeniable. More than 100 Western Maryland business owners signed a letter to the leadership of the General Assembly in support of the fracking moratorium. Sustainable businesses like farming, tourism and restaurants would be devastated, a spokesman has said. A short term boom and bust economy is not to the taste of local businessman.

Don’t Frack Maryland got together over 100 groups to formally oppose fracking. The list, found here, is very impressive in its diversity. It includes many environmental groups, as might be expected, but also such as Garrett Countians for Smart Growth, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, League of Women Voters Maryland, Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association, Montgomery County Young Democrats, University of Maryland Student Sustainability Committee, National Nurses United and Natural Resources Defense Council. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Marylanders are far ahead of much of the country in their awareness.

There were letters signed by more than 100 health professionals. Polling has also shown that a clear majority of Marylanders oppose fracking and support action from the General Assembly to prevent drilling in the state.

Maryland is another example of the growing awareness of the nature of fracking. The deferred costs are immense, the health hazards to people and damage to the environment are prohibitive, not to mention the continuing dump of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, which causes global temperatures to rise. Fracking bans are going into effect in individual states and all over the world. A list of moratoria is here. Where ever the public understands the effects, the benefits look short-term and limited to few people, while the long term effects are broadly dispensed and continue indefinitely.


Protest Against the Dominion Cove Point LNG Terminal

May 30th Walk for Calvert County to be Free of Dominion Resources

Schedule on Saturday, May 30, 2015:
9:00 a.m. – music and speakers, Solomons Island, Alexander & Calvert Streets
9:30 a.m. – walk begins in Solomons Island, to Cove Point Park in Lusby
1:00 p.m. – picnic (food provided) and fellowship at Cove Point Park in Lusby


Stop FERC’s Rubber Stamping of Fracking Related Projects

People Involved in the “BXE –FERCus” Protest in DC this Week

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