Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 12, 2012

Gas drilling requires caution, residents stress

Chemicals added to water to release gas main concern

CUMBERLAND — Several local citizens advocated a cautious approach to drilling for gas trapped in Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland at a prelegislative meeting with District 1 legislators. The meeting took place at Allegany College of Maryland Monday night.

“I think ... that there should be a moratorium on any effort to proceed with fracking in Maryland,” said Jackie Sams, who said she has followed the issue closely.

In order to get the gas trapped in the shale to the surface, chemicals, water and sand are pumped underground to break apart rock formations and free the gas. The process is called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

“The governor’s executive order lays out many complex and important tasks before it can be determined if the risks are acceptable,” Sams said. Sams asked for a legislative moratorium, because the executive order holding off fracking by the governor depended on one person, not the full legislature.

“It (fracking) uses up to seven million gallons of water per fracked well. Water is an incredibly precious resource,” said Desiree Bullard. Bullard said use of water for fracking is a waste of a precious resource. Bullard also supports a legislative moratorium, she said.

Karen Krogh of Frostburg was also concerned.

“I support the moratorium... . It’s very valuable; it will become more valuable over time. As time goes on it will become safer,” Krogh said. “I really don’t trust the industry,” she said.

Tristan Apple of Frostburg said she was “deeply concerned” by the lack of disclosure about fracking chemicals. She asked how emergency responders and physicians could help victims and protect themselves when they did not know what chemicals were being used in fracking fluid.

 Sen. George Edwards said he did not think a permit would ever be issued in Maryland without disclosure being required.

Sams asked a series of questions that needed to be answered about the impact of fracking on the environment, public health, property values and other areas.

“Accidents are very costly,” Sams said. She said tourism in Alabama’s coastal regions has dropped below half of what existed before the Gulf oil spill.

Sams said the industry has resisted funding studies on those issues.

That’s where Edwards stepped in and said that back in 2010, the industry had offered to fund some studies if they could drill some test wells to gain revenues. He said environmentalists did not want to agree to that proposal. Edwards said that while he supported fracking, he also wanted to make sure it was “done right.”

Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel represent areas of the county where Marcellus Shale is present. Edwards also represents all of Garrett County and part of Washington County.

“The industry is making huge strides and advances in drilling,” Beitzel said. “We need energy,” he said.

Marcellus Shale formations throughout the eastern U.S. harbor large untapped natural gas resources.

Sens. Brian Frosh and Jamie Raskin have joined with Delegate Heather Mizeur to pass new limits on fracking in the General Assembly in 2013.

The state moratorium bill, to be introduced by Mizeur in the House of Delegates and Raskin and others in the Senate, would prevent fracking from occurring in Maryland until the state completes the series of 14 studies laid out in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 2011 executive order on gas drilling, which also established an advisory commission.

O’Malley’s timetable calls for a final advisory commission report due in 2014; until then, no permits will be issued for drilling Marcellus Shale in the state.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at

Text Only
Local News
  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Game on: City interested in baseball study

    After it looked like the objection of a couple of constituents to a study on the feasibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area may have torpedoed the thought, county commissioners and some city officials sounded ready to sing a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • DEREK SHEELY Charges against helmet maker stand in case of Frostburg player’s death

    A Montgomery County judge this week declined to dismiss charges against a helmet manufacturer in a case brought by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died of head injuries in August 2011 following four straight days of heavy contact drills in practice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GAYLE MANCHIN W.Va. BOE president speaks on issues at WVSDB

    West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin responded to issues at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind during an interview with the Times-News Wednesday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • REGINALD REDMAN Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blossoming optimism Blossoming optimism

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military