Cumberland Times-News

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January 30, 2012

Bill would ban wastewater created by hydraulic fracturing process

Legislation applies to fluids from other states


CUMBERLAND — A Montgomery County delegate has introduced a bill that would ban the treatment of wastewater generated by hydraulic fracturing. House Bill 296, sponsored by Delegate Shane Robinson, only bans importing wastewater for treatment or storage from other states. 
The bill does not address fracking water that could be created in Maryland, although there is currently no hydraulic fracturing taking place in the Free State. In order to get the natural 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.
“A person may not ship or transport into the state, or store, treat discharge or dispose of in the state, flow back or other wastewater resulting from hydraulic fracturing activities occurring in another state,” the bill reads, in part.
“The Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater Prohibition Act is a great first step toward protecting Maryland residents from the dangers of fracking,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It is almost impossible to know what chemicals are being used in the fracking process, and if these chemicals have been treated properly before being discharged into watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay,” Hauter said. Food & Water Watch is a public-interest organization that remains independent of corporate and government influence, according to its website. “Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced,” the website states.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin has called for the industry to disclose the recipe for fracking fluids.
The best way to prevent pollution from the fluids is to require recycling of fracking fluids. Recycling would minimize the risk to clean water, Cardin said.
“My primary concern is the safety of Maryland’s citizens,” said Robinson. “Maryland treatment plants lack the capability to safely treat this toxic wastewater, so there is no good reason why it should be transported through our state, endangering our people as a result.”

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