Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Consumer Groups and Lawmakers Call for Statewide Fracking Ban in Maryland

Energy

Food & Water Watch

On July 25 Food & Water Watch and Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39) announced new legislation that would push for a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. With the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reporting new sources of untapped shale in Central and Southern Maryland—in addition to the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland—fracking is fast becoming an issue of concern across the state.

“The oil and gas industry now has its sights set on turning Maryland into a sacrifice zone for a mere five years’ worth of shale gas,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The industry has managed to evade taxes, sidestep disclosure of the type of chemicals they use, and shirk their responsibility for providing water to communities whose water they’ve contaminated. It’s time for a ban on fracking in Maryland before it can damage communities like it has in Pennsylvania.”

The industry is now targeting the Marcellus Shale in two counties in Western Maryland, but recent USGS findings suggest that drilling and fracking operations would likely expand to central and southern Maryland, as well as to the Eastern Shore—all within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

“This new report shows that the threat of fracking concerns all of Maryland,” said Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39). “No energy source is worth the water we drink or the air we breathe. That’s why I will work with my colleagues in the legislature to ban fracking in Maryland.”

More consumers have expressed opposition to fracking, but the oil and gas industry continues to quickly extend its reach into various parts of the eastern U.S. According to government estimates, there may be about 1 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Marcellus and Taylorsville shale formations combined. These estimates do not consider whether it would make economic sense to extract this gas. Based on the state’s consumption of gas in 2010, this translates to a mere five-year supply of gas.

Fracking is the dangerous and controversial method of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground at extremely high pressures to break up rock formations, allowing oil or gas to flow more easily into a well. Drilling and fracking have resulted in widespread cases of water contamination and local air pollution problems across the country. Disposal of the massive amounts of fracking wastewater from each new well poses problems as well. Conventional wastewater treatment is inadequate, and injecting it underground is causing small earthquakes in eastern Ohio.

In some states, including Pennsylvania, oil and gas companies lobbied for exemptions from full disclosure of all chemicals used in the fracking process. Health professionals across the country have voiced concern about the potential health effects on communities where drilling and fracking is occurring and highlighted the lack of cumulative health impact assessments.

“Fracking poses a serious threat to the public’s health, especially children and the elderly,” said Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, Scanlon Endowed Chair for Values Based Health Care at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“Hundreds of chemicals are injected into the ground during the fracking process, as well as contaminants that are released during gas production," continued Anderko. "There is evidence that many of the chemicals used or released during fracking can damage the skin, eyes, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood, brain and reproductive health through exposure to contaminated water and air. Of particular concern is the lack of full disclosure by the drilling companies of the chemicals used, making it impossible to fully evaluate the long-term health impacts. However, emerging research points to liver and respiratory disease, as well as low birth weight among babies born in communities where fracking occurs.”

“The new, expanded USGS findings make fracking a statewide issue in Maryland and gives us more reason to ban fracking before the industry is allowed to sacrifice all of the state’s communities, public health and environment,” said Hauter.

Visit EcoWatch's FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Brian Sims ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test. Brian Sims / Facebook

Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.

Read More Show Less
Wolf pups with their mother at their den site. Design Pics / Getty Images

In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.

Read More Show Less
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says this is a historic step for the group. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Linda Lacina

World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.

Read More Show Less
Because of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, in-person sessions are less possible. Merlas / Getty Images

By Nicholas Joyce

The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.

Read More Show Less
A 17-year periodical cicada. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
"Most of this fossil fuel finance flowed to wealthier countries," the report says, noting that China (pictured), Canada, Japan, and Korea provided the most public finance for dirty energy projects from 2016 to 2018.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

An aerial view shows new vehicles that were offloaded from ships at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics on April 26, 2020 in Wilmington, California. "Vehicles are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in America," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. David McNew / Getty Images

Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

Read More Show Less