Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 17, 2013

Disbanding Garrett’s Marcellus Shale committee inadvisable

I write to you today concerning your potential decision to discontinue the Garrett County Advisory Committee for Marcellus Shale.

As you know, the Jan. 11 poll of the Advisory Committee gives three choices after an introduction stating “the Commissioners have asked (the Chair) to poll the membership concerning the need for continuation of the Committee”, and gives three choices:

1. Continue meeting on a frequent basis (currently every other month); 2. Discontinue meetings until the state committee completes its work; or 3. Disband the Garrett County Advisory Committee.

On behalf of myself and the greater community, I must oppose any actions to disband the Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee.

The local advisory committee is the only such group in Maryland, and is the only public government meeting available to local citizens to voice their concerns, whether pro- or con-gas development.

Disbanding the committee plays to special interests and back-room deals.

Disbanding eliminates the only organized, publicly accountable means for local open discussion, education, and objective recommendations to the board of commissioners.

Further, I request that you: clarify what you want the Advisory Committee to accomplish, widely publicize, as promised, when the meetings are being held, and require monthly meetings to help assure timely progress.

James “Smokey” Stanton

Member, Garrett County Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee

Oakland

 

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