Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 30, 2013

Don’t be fooled; natural gas industry is alive and well in Md.

This is in response to the Jan. 23 article titled: “MDE: All drilling permits have been withdrawn; gas prospects in Md. looking unfavorable” (Page 1A).

While this is exciting news to those of us who have concerns about the harmful effects of fracking this is no time to sit back, relax, and assume the gas industry has left the state.

The gas industry is very much alive in Maryland, and is lobbying our lawmakers in Annapolis for higher natural gas prices to create a higher demand for drilling in Maryland.

During a Senate briefing on gas drilling, Jan. 22, several groups gave presentations on fracking including a gas industry representative from ANGA (America's Natural Gas Alliance).

Also in attendance but not presenting was Drew Cobbs, executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council. The focus of ANGA’s presentation was convincing the Senate committee that fracking can be done safely in Maryland with virtually no negative environmental impact.

The senators followed up ANGA’s presentation by asking some challenging questions. The Senate chair, Joan Carter Conway, asked ANGA why they were still interested in perusing drilling in Maryland if the gas is dry and less valuable.

ANGA’s response was to redirect the attention to the Utica sale, the shale layer below the Marcellus. The Utica shale is larger and extends farther east and could potentially be more valuable than the Marcellus shale.

Recent reports from the USGS indicate there are other potential shale plays in Maryland that extend as far east as the eastern shore.

With the gas industry hard at work in Annapolis and the USGS’s discovery of new shale, it’s clear the gas industry is not going to leave Maryland any time soon, even if there are no current permits.

Now is the time to educate yourself, and stay informed before the landmen come knocking on your door.

 Matia Vanderbilt

Mountain Lake Park

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