Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 25, 2013

Western Maryland supports fracking studies, says poll

CUMBERLAND — A new poll shows strong support for continuing studies before allowing drilling for natural gas by the hydraulic fracturing process in Maryland. And that strong support includes voters in the state’s three westernmost counties: Washington, Garrett and Allegany, according to a poll by OpinionWorks.

“Support for requiring fracking studies is as strong in the three counties of Western Maryland, where most of the proposed fracking activity will take place, as in the rest of the state. In Western Maryland, 76 percent of voters think fracking studies should be conducted, while only 22 percent do not think so,” a memo analyzing the poll said.

The memo was prepared by Steve Raabe of OpinionWorks for release today.

Legislators and organizations supporting a legislative moratorium on fracking hailed the release of the poll and participated in a teleconference Monday, in advance of a hearing on SB 601 scheduled for 1 p.m. today in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

“Western Marylanders have the most at stake if fracking goes forward, so it’s no surprise that there’s strong support here for common-sense studies,” said Eric Robison, co-founder and president of Citizen Shale. “If toxic chemicals spill into streams or pollute drinking water, we could be paying with our health, our tourism jobs and our farms long after the gas companies leave town. The moratorium bill will protect us now and ensure that a final decision is based on the facts, not industry pressure or propaganda,” Robison said.

In order to get the gas trapped in Marcellus 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.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s created an advisory commission, with a report due in 2014; until then, no permits will be issued for drilling Marcellus Shale in the state.

Some members of the commission have said they want the industry to fund studies and are seeking extensive reviews before any drilling occurs.

Others, such as Sen. George Edwards, have maintained extensive scientific evidence is already available, gathered from states where drilling has occurred. Moratorium advocates fear the commission’s work might be circumvented without legislative action.

The poll was commissioned by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which supports a moratorium on fracking until the studies are performed.

Among other clients, including public sector agencies, OpinionWorks does polling for The Baltimore Sun.

Industry polls have shown different results when asking voters about gas drilling, but have been criticized by activists for avoiding the issue of hydraulic fracturing.

And voters told pollsters that they considered the issue important in considering their vote.

Slightly more than half of voters (52 percent) said a legislator’s stand on fracking studies could help determine whether they vote for that legislator in the next election.

Among those whose vote could be affected by this issue, more than three times as many (40 percent) would likely vote for a legislator who required these studies, compared to those who would likely vote against that legislator (12 percent).

“In Western Maryland, where the fracking would occur, 29 percent are more likely to vote for a legislator who supports the studies, versus 10 percent who would likely vote against them,” Raabe said in the memo.

The OpinionWorks survey was conducted from Dec. 28, 2012 to January 2, 2013.

The poll surveyed 800 randomly selected registered voters. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus no mare than 3.5 percent at a confidence level of 95 percent, meaning that 95 percent of the time, the margin of error would not be exceeded if every registered voter in the state was surveyed.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Facebook
Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing