Frack­ing hasn’t proved safe

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - Veron­ica Pok­lemba, Ijamsville

The Ho­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion will miss a le­gal dead­line to pub­lish frack­ing reg­u­la­tions. Is it re­ally OK for our state gov­ern­ment to ig­nore le­gal dead­lines (“Mary­land of­fi­cials say state will miss dead­line to set frack­ing rules, as push for a per­ma­nent ban be­gins,” Sept. 18)?

The pur­pose of this dead­line was to al­low ad­e­quate time for cit­i­zens and law­mak­ers to re­view the reg­u­la­tions prior to the leg­isla­tive ses­sion in Jan­uary, in­clud­ing a 30-day pe­riod to al­low for ci­ti­zen com­ment and time for those com­ments to be re­viewed. In ad­di­tion to reg­u­la­tions, there will be a need for solid en­force­ment as well as ad­e­quate mon­i­tor­ing. Can we re­ally count on money be­ing al­lot­ted to en­sure all of these tasks are com­pleted thor­oughly? Al­lo­cat­ing money for pub­lic safety is not al­ways the pri­or­ity it should be.

The overview of the reg­u­la­tions re­leased in the sum­mer in­di­cates the drilling of gas wells will be per­mit­ted closer to homes and wells than was per­mit­ted by the reg­u­la­tions crafted by the O’Mal­ley ad­min­is­tra­tion (which took two years to com­plete). This is hap­pen­ing even though, as re­porter Scott Dance ac­knowl­edges in his ar­ti­cle, frack­ing “has been found to con­tam­i­nate nearby wa­ter sources” — a point sup­ported by the many in­ci­dents of wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion in Penn­syl­va­nia and else­where where frack­ing is done through­out the coun­try.

It would be neg­li­gent on the part of leg­is­la­tors to trust the Ho­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion to pro­tect the health and wel­fare of the cit­i­zens of Mary­land. The truth is, no re­gion of the coun­try has suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing reg­u­la­tions that make frack­ing safe. Our leg­is­la­tors need to ban frack­ing through­out the state of Mary­land. Don’t let us be an­other frack­ing ex­per­i­ment.

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