On June 9, 2013, representatives from Maryland’s Department of Environment and Department of Natural Resources gave a presentation at Garrett College of their agencies’ Draft Report for Best Management Practices (BMPs) for regulating industrial shale gas development, including hydraulic fracturing, in our state.
Section VIII, (C) of the BMP report consists of a description and discussion of Forced Pooling, a controversial legal provision that would force landowners who have not leased their mineral rights to allow gas companies to drill and fracture horizontal wells beneath their land to complete a drilling unit and obtain the shale gas.
At this meeting, and at a similar meeting in Baltimore on July 16, the agencies stated that, in regard to forced pooling, “Maryland is not considering it at this time.”
However, the same agency representatives gave a presentation at an August Workshop on Governance of Risks of Unconventional Shale Gas Development to the National Research Council, which included a Powerpoint slide raising this question in regard to Maryland’s proposed use of Comprehensive Gas Development Plans: “Will efficiencies be reduced unless Maryland adopts forced pooling?”
The language of the Draft BMP report implies that once the terms of Governor O’Malley’s executive order are met, forced pooling could receive additional consideration by the state.
Clearly, western Maryland landowners should not take for granted protections from the state should they refuse to participate in industrial shale gas development or choose not to lease their mineral rights.
A state study group in North Carolina recommended last week that the state legislature enact forced pooling in their next legislative session. (Please read full story here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/28/3145187/officials-ok-rule-to-force-fracking.html)
It is instructive to examine the extensive public comments on this story to understand the depth of conviction people hold about the state giving away access to their privately-held land and the resources beneath it.
Given the potential for local input in future legislative or administrative decisions regarding the use of forced pooling in Maryland — and the need for citizens to understand where our leaders stand on this important policy concept — CitizenShale respectfully asks you to articulate your position on whether forced pooling should be allowed in Maryland.
This letter will be distributed to local media, and later in September CitizenShale will compile all responses on a forced pooling page at http://citizenshale.org.
Canal Place Authority has no business withholding names
The recent Times-News editorial raising questions about the mandatory secrecy of the Footer Dye Works bids is spot on in my opinion.
President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?
Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.
Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg
As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.
You can help United Way reach its goal
The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.
Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place
At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.
Celebrate Earth Day every day: Reduce, reuse and recycle
April 1 marked the beginning of April Envi- ronmental Education Month in Maryland — and with Earth Day coming up on April 22, Maryland has much to celebrate.
Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift
While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.
Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man
I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.
It’s a secret
Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.
What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?
Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.
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