The Benefits, Costs and Risks of Fracking in Maryland?

by S. Tom Bond on December 9, 2016

Compressor station noise, blow-down, leaks & odors are issues!

Commentary on Fracking in Maryland

[Garrett County already has a huge natural gas storage field at Accident, MD]

In 2007 I was part of a team at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who reviewed $37 billion-dollar-plus programs.  We were trying to understand why so many DHS programs were failing.  As part of the review we’d have the program principals come in and we’d ask them questions about their program.  The last question was, “What do you want to buy?”  Remember these men and women had their hands out asking for hundreds of millions of dollars.  Many of them couldn’t answer the question.  They wanted the money but didn’t know how they were going to spend it.  They hadn’t done their homework.  Their approach from an engineering perspective was irresponsible.

On Tuesday, December 6th, I went to the Pre-Legislative meeting in Garrett County.  I asked Delegate Bieztel and Senator Edwards some very basic questions about fracking, which they have supported since the O&G industry became interested in Maryland.  Since then our representatives have been claiming significant economic benefits which would result from fracking.

I asked them to tell me what the economic impact to the county would be especially to the average household.  They couldn’t give me any numbers.  Delegate Beitzel proceeded to tell me how to figure the amount of money land lessors could expect.

I asked them for the number, type, and duration of the jobs that we could expect and whether these jobs would be filled locally or not.  They couldn’t answer those questions except to say one had to make assumptions about lots of things.  I suppose they were telling me that it was hard to derive those numbers.  Maybe so, but if you’re asking people to support a risky proposition you should have done enough analysis to understand the basics.  I also asked them if they would require O&G companies to staff fracking operations with union workers since unions were very careful to protect the well-being (safety) of employees whereas fracking operators are not.  Fracking workers are seven times more likely to die on the job than on other type jobs according to the AFL-CIO.  Our representatives said they would not support a requirement for fracking operators to hire union workers.

The bottom line for me is our representatives are asking us to support fracking and its associated risks (costs) because of the benefits, and yet they don’t know what the benefits really are.  They are asking the average household to buy-in to their ideas without any idea how the average household will benefit.  That is, they want us all to assume the economic, health, and environmental risks associated with fracking even though they don’t know if any of us (other than land lessors) will benefit.  I ask myself and you, does it make sense to buy anything and not know the benefits?  I also ask myself if they really don’t know the basics about the benefits what do they really know about the costs (risks)?

As I think about this I become very angry.  I’m angry because they use their influence to gain support for fracking.  We trust these men to do what’s in our best interests and they exploit that trust.  I’m also angry (maybe angrier) that they don’t feel they’ve been irresponsible.  They think there’s nothing wrong with asking us to get on board even though they obviously don’t understand the benefits and probably don’t understand the costs.  We should ask these men to do their homework or perhaps find someone else to represent us.   They are after all, acting irresponsibly.

From:  Jim Guy, OldTown, Allehany County, MD

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How Fracking May Impact Your Health (Learning from Pennsylvania)

>>> From Engage Mountain Maryland,,

When the fracking rush consumed Pennsylvania, little was known about how industrial gas development could impact their residents’ health. With years of citizen complaints and health studies, evidence shows documented threats from fracking operations.

Studies by institutions have revealed issues such as respiratory problems, headaches, high blood pressure, anemia, heart attacks, and cancers as a result of gas drilling. Damaging effects have also been discovered on immune and reproductive systems, child development, and low birth weights for infants born near fracking sites.

Two guest speakers will be visiting Garrett County from Southwestern Pennsylvania who have been on the front lines, assisting victims of fracking. Raina Rippel, Director of  The Environmental Health Project (EHP) along with Jill Kriesky, MS, PhD, Associate Director, will be delivering a compelling program that outlines common health risks associated with communities engulfed in natural gas development.

This informative public session is to help the public better understand health risks associated with natural gas development and fracking. The general public is invited to attend this free event as well as health professionals who could greatly benefit from the program and share its content with others.

Wednesday, December 14 at 6:00PM

Ace’s Run Restaurant & Pub (lower level)

20160 Garrett Highway

Oakland, MD 21550

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