Cumberland Times-News

January 27, 2013

Bill would ban fracking

Passage would essentially kill natural gas drilling in state

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A bill which would ban the practice needed to drill for natural gas in Western Maryland has been introduced in the General Assembly. House Bill 337 would prohibit “a person from engaging in the hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas in the state,” according ot the language of the bill.

If enacted, the law would essentially ban drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland, since fracturing is necessary to free the gas from Marcellus shale formations.

Marcellus Shale formations throughout the eastern U.S. harbor large untapped natural gas resources. The shale formations in Maryland are located only in Garrett and Allegany counties.

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.”

HB 337 was introduced by Delegate Shane Robinson of Montgomery County.

Sen. George Edwards has said he’ll work to kill any moratorium bill.

On another front, Allegany County Delegate Kevin Kelly is once again trying to enact a bill requiring adults to report the death or disappearance of a child. The bill would require parents or guardians of a missing or deceased child to notify law enforcement officials within limited periods of time based on the child’s age.

If a child disappears for more than 24 hours, law enforcement should be notified,” Kelly has said. “It’s common sense. You need to do an Amber Alert.”

The proposal developed after Casey Anthony’s acquittal in Florida of charges that she murdered her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Anthony did not report her daughter missing to police, who were finally alerted to the missing child by Casey Anthony’s mother 30 days after the child was last seen. Anthony was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators.

The proposed law is designed to allow prosecutors to bring charges against parents who do not quickly report missing children, with most of the proposals requiring law enforcement notification by 24 or 48 hours after a child goes missing, or a shorter time frame to report the death of a child.

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