In Western Maryland, over a quarter of land in Garrett County has been leased to polluters using a new technique called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", which been blamed in other states for polluting streams and tainting wells, even resulting in flammable tap water.
It is vital that we stop these companies from pursuing reckless, environmentally and socially destructive gas drilling in Maryland: Chief Oil & Gas has already been charged with 198 environmental and safety violations at 83 wells in Pennsylvania. Another company leasing land in Maryland, Samson, has been cited for 12 offenses on just two wells. As these companies inch closer to having their permits approved, Maryland remains unprepared to handle the natural gas industry boom that will surely come to the state.
In the 2011 Maryland General Assembly, a bill entitled Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act of 2011 was introduced for the purpose of prohibiting the Department of the Environment from issuing well drilling permits for certain drilling activities involving the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas-bearing shale formations until a two year safety study on Fracking is carried out and certain conditions/criteria are met by the gas companies.
Unfortunately while the bill sailed through the House of Delegates it died in the Senate. Nevertheless the O'Malley administration is likely to take action to ensure that the goals of the legislation - to conduct thorough 2 year saftey studies - are met before any drilling permits could be issued. Please take a moment to sign the petition to Governor O'Malley and the Maryland Department of the Environment.