Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 13, 2013

Fracking could have worse consequences than you think

At age 22 and a lifetime resident of Allegany County, I fear for the future of our surrounding environment if the state ever approves permits for natural gas drilling.

Our General Assembly recently held in the first of many meetings during which the topic of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” will often be discussed. We are one of the few states within the Marcellus Shale gas reservoir that do not permit fracking.

The Marcellus Shale stretches from New York through Virginia and contains approximately 10 to 15 years of fossil fuels. To rape the earth and leave behind worthless, lifeless, toxic land for an estimated 10-15 years of natural gas is clearly not sustainable, nor is it sensible.

Western Maryland is known for its scenic and countryside views, so what will we have left once they destroy our environment? Great paragraph!

One of the major consequences of fracking is the environmental impact. The groundwater and air are frequently contaminated and all nutrients are depleted from the earth in each drilling site.

Families ingest the chemicals through cooking, cleaning and bathing with their water causing a multitude of health affects. Even more frightening is the denial of these consequences by the gas and oil companies, let alone their efforts to hide or release these chemicals names.

What evidence we do have is quite alarming. In the documentary “Gas Land,” a sample of flow back water was tested. The results produced a multiple page list of chemicals. This “produced” water collected after the fracking process (much stays in the ground) and dumped in plastic lined pits, injected back into the earth or illegally dumped into ponds, streams and fields.

In addition to the families who have drilling sites in their front and back yards, the workers for these companies are also at great risk.

I recently attended a conference on fracking and its risks, where I spoke to a former employee of a gas company. He shared with me his battle obtaining workers compensation. Once he was instructed to dump a container of drilling waste into a pit. When he jumped into the pit, his boots began melting to his feet. A year later, and this man has yet to learn the chemicals to which he was exposed.

I could go on and on with stories and reports of how fracking has ruined the lives of many.

However, what is most important at this point for Maryland is enacting a statutory moratorium which would prevent fracking from proceeding until studies have been done. A series of 14 tests will be conducted. Only once the risk levels are rated will a lift on the moratorium be considered.

There is a petition circulating to gain support for the moratorium. You can go to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (chesapeakeclimte.org) website directly or visit the shop Peace of Me in downtown Cumberland on Centre St. or Dante’s Bar on Main St. in Frostburg to sign the petition.

For articles and reports on personal experiences with fracking and more information you can visit NO Fracking in Western Maryland or Fracking Moratorium Now on Facebook. Please learn the facts before you sign over your land. Not only could it affect me and my future but, potentially your life.

Carrie Whetzel

Cumberland

 

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