New frack­ing rules won’t pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Kevin Kri­escher, Bal­ti­more

The Mary­land Depart­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment’s stated goals of pro­tect­ing pub­lic health, safety, the en­vi­ron­ment and nat­u­ral re­sources are all ad­mirable, but they are not re­flected in the agency’s pro­posed reg­u­la­tions on frack­ing (“Law­mak­ers should ban frack­ing in Mary­land,” Oct. 3).

Un­der the pro­posed rules, any drilling site must be at least 1,000 feet from a drink­ing water well and it must have four lay­ers of steel cas­ings along with ce­ment bar­ri­ers. That sounds im­pres­sive but these com­po­nents are in re­al­ity lit­tle more than lawn or­na­ments.

A large part of frack­ing in­volves drilling hor­i­zon­tally un­der­ground into aquifers and lay­ers of shale some dis­tance from the well­head.

Re­gard­less of where well­heads are lo­cated, water — and any pol­lu­tion borne by it — is one of the most mi­gra­tory com­pounds on earth.

Water ta­bles in­ter­act with wa­ter­sheds and the oceans are our wash basins. Even in rare cases when pol­lu­tion can be com­pletely con­tained, do­ing so de­creases the amount of vi­able earth.

Gov. Larry Ho­gan sup­ports frack­ing in part be­cause he be­lieves it will cre­ate jobs. Funny — not too long ago he ve­toed a bill pre­dicted to cre­ate an ad­di­tional 1,000 re­new­able en­ergy jobs an­nu­ally in Mary­land.

Those jobs, which were mainly in the so­lar and wind en­ergy in­dus­tries, have stay­ing power, whereas frack­ing jobs are often boom or bust in­vest­ments due to the na­ture of the in­dus­try.

All the ar­gu­ments for frack­ing are piti­fully short-sighted. Think of it like this: Would you dump lead into your well just to push up one glass of clean water?

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