On June 9, 2013, representatives from Maryland’s Department of Environment and Department of Natural Resources gave a presentation at Garrett College of their agencies’ Draft Report for Best Management Practices (BMPs) for regulating industrial shale gas development, including hydraulic fracturing, in our state.
Section VIII, (C) of the BMP report consists of a description and discussion of Forced Pooling, a controversial legal provision that would force landowners who have not leased their mineral rights to allow gas companies to drill and fracture horizontal wells beneath their land to complete a drilling unit and obtain the shale gas.
At this meeting, and at a similar meeting in Baltimore on July 16, the agencies stated that, in regard to forced pooling, “Maryland is not considering it at this time.”
However, the same agency representatives gave a presentation at an August Workshop on Governance of Risks of Unconventional Shale Gas Development to the National Research Council, which included a Powerpoint slide raising this question in regard to Maryland’s proposed use of Comprehensive Gas Development Plans: “Will efficiencies be reduced unless Maryland adopts forced pooling?”
The language of the Draft BMP report implies that once the terms of Governor O’Malley’s executive order are met, forced pooling could receive additional consideration by the state.
Clearly, western Maryland landowners should not take for granted protections from the state should they refuse to participate in industrial shale gas development or choose not to lease their mineral rights.
A state study group in North Carolina recommended last week that the state legislature enact forced pooling in their next legislative session. (Please read full story here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/28/3145187/officials-ok-rule-to-force-fracking.html)
It is instructive to examine the extensive public comments on this story to understand the depth of conviction people hold about the state giving away access to their privately-held land and the resources beneath it.
Given the potential for local input in future legislative or administrative decisions regarding the use of forced pooling in Maryland — and the need for citizens to understand where our leaders stand on this important policy concept — CitizenShale respectfully asks you to articulate your position on whether forced pooling should be allowed in Maryland.
This letter will be distributed to local media, and later in September CitizenShale will compile all responses on a forced pooling page at http://citizenshale.org.
It’s a secret
Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.
What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?
Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.
The first step
If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.
Translations differ, but the message is eternal
This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).
Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters
After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.
Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing
The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.
Where to look
Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.
Midterm elections give chance to return to American values
A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond.
We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.
Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting
Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.
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