Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

February 3, 2013

Ban on fracking would send message to oil, gas industry

The article, “Bill would ban fracking,” on Jan. 28, briefly describes the process of hydraulic fracturing as “chemicals, water and sand [being] pumped underground to break rock formations and free the gas.”

While this basic description is an adequate way to describe the process, it is important for readers to understand exactly what this means.

As we’ve seen in neighboring Pennsylvania, the effects of fracking are hazardous to the natural ecosystem and public health.

Bulldozers can clear acres of land for each well, and trucks make thousands of trips over local roads carrying tons of machinery, chemicals, water, and sand, damaging local roads and contributing significantly to local air pollution.

The fracking process also releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. Lastly, the process is devastating to our water resources because each well can produce millions of gallons of wastewater that is capable of contaminating local wells and drinking water, leading to health problems such as headaches, eye irritation, respiratory problems, and nausea.

A ban on fracking would tell the oil and gas industry that we will not stand for this type of damage to our environment and our people.

The potential costs to our communities, environment, and public health outweigh any benefits of producing natural gas on Maryland land, so we must come together to resolve that fracking is not in Maryland’s future.

Erika Burns

Environment Maryland organizer

Potomac

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