Consumer Groups and Lawmakers Call for Statewide Fracking Ban in Maryland
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.
To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.
A new EarthxTV film special calls for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that call it home. EarthxTV.org
- Meet the 'Women Warriors' Protecting the Amazon Forest - EcoWatch ›
- Indigenous Tribes Are Using Drones to Protect the Amazon ... ›
- Amazon Rainforest Will Collapse by 2064, New Study Predicts ... ›
- Deforestation in Amazon Skyrockets to 12-Year High Under Bolsonaro ›
- Amazon Rainforest on the Brink of Turning Into a Net Carbon Emitter ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Anke Rasper
"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.
- World Leaders Fall Short of Meeting Paris Agreement Goal - EcoWatch ›
- UN Climate Change Conference COP26 Delayed to November ... ›
- 5 Years After Paris: How Countries' Climate Policies Match up to ... ›
- Biden Win Puts World 'Within Striking Distance' of 1.5 C Paris Goal ... ›
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?
- This Indian Startup Turns Polluted Air Into Climate-Friendly Tiles ... ›
- How to Win the Fight Against Plastic - EcoWatch ›
In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
- Appalachian Fracking Boom Was a Jobs Bust, Finds New Report ... ›
- Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water ... ›
- Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Much Higher Than ... ›
Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.
- Kenyan Engineer Recycles Plastic Into Bricks Stronger Than ... ›
- Could IKEA's New Tiny House Help Fight the Climate Crisis ... ›