Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

September 5, 2013

Should forced pooling be allowed in Maryland?

Dear Leader,

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.

Eric Robison

Oakland

President, CitizenShale

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

  • Northern Garrett Rescue Squad raising funds, seeks members

    The Northern Garrett County Rescue Squad recently conducted several fund raising events to raise funds for new Lifepak 15’s, which are EKG monitors with AED / defibrillator.

    July 16, 2014