Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 3, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Fracking, 'Don't do it.'

I read with interest the article in the Cumberland Times on the health impact assessment study completed on fracking in Md. June 29 2014.

I attended the meeting and after reading the article decided to write this letter. 

The article got the facts correct however it concerned me that the major -- for me -- take-away was not mentioned. 

The bottom line for the impact assessment was assigning a level of negative impact on health, low, medium or high, likely to be experienced by the citizens of Western Maryland, due to fracking. 

The study authors explained how each impact element such as air, water and noise, was assigned a grade and the impact for all elements were combined to create a single score for the assessment. 

The overall score for Allegany and Garrett counties was medium, meaning there would probably be a medium negative impact on our health. 

What the authors didn’t explain was what that score meant in terms of negative health impacts for us. 

For example how many of us would likely get cancer, emphysema, asthma, and so forth. 

What they did say was that our local health infrastructure would be overwhelmed and need more doctors, hospital beds, emergency medical services and the like. 

That means to me they feel lots of people are going to get sick. 

It also means that lots of people are going to be financially damaged from healthcare expenses and for other related reasons. 

I don’t know why the Times didn’t mention the impact assessment result and what it would mean to our collective health. 

One hopes the Times doesn’t have a dog in this fight. 

For me I will continue to write letters to editor although I don’t know if this one or future ones will get published. 

I will be sending copies of the letters, including this one, in email to people I think may be interested and will be happy to include anyone else who would like to receive them. 

Send me an email at with SIGN ME UP in the subject line.  

I felt from sitting through the presentation on the assessment that the investigators were honest and did a good job on the analysis. 

However it seemed to me that given the result of the study one more recommendation was called for -- Don’t do it.

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