Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

December 17, 2012

Take a stand to save us from the ‘money disease’

I am writing in response to the Dec. 11 article, “Prelegislative talk: Drilling at the core of Garrett concerns” (Page 1A).

The article indicated that Delegate Wendell Beitzel admitted that as a landowner he will potentially gain monetarily if fracking is allowed to proceed in Maryland. Beitzel went on to say that he will “make every effort to make sure it’s done as safely as possible.”

This being said, I ask Delegate Beitzel, if you plan to make every effort to make sure that fracking is done as safely as possible, then prove to Western Maryland citizens that you intend to put our health and safety before your own personal economic gains from drilling by supporting the legislative fracking moratorium that will be introduced in the upcoming General Assembly.

According to Chesapeake Climate Action Network this bill “would halt all fracking permits until and unless the state completes thorough scientific studies that assess whether or not fracking would harm public health, the environment, or our communities.”

In addition, I’d like to comment on Sen. George Edwards’ statement: “We have a moratorium now. We already have a process in place to look at this.”

Yes, Gov. Martin O’Malley issued an executive order in 2011 which created the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission to study best practices for fracking in Maryland.  

The commission must complete these studies and present its results by August 2014. But, it is my understanding, without the necessary funding (approximately $1.5 million), the commission is unable to complete said studies.

If passed, the new legislative moratorium would protect Maryland citizens by ensuring that 14 safety and best-practice studies are completed prior to any fracking taking place in the state.

The bill would give the Maryland Department of the Environment and Department of Natural Resources the authority to impose a per-acre fee on natural gas companies to pay for the studies.

Therefore, Maryland citizens, I urge you to please visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org to learn more about this moratorium and to sign the petition supporting it.

In addition, I encourage you to write to our legislative leaders expressing your concerns about fracking and encourage them to support the legislative moratorium.

I am in complete agreement with Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s moratorium petition, which states: “It is crucial that Maryland has its own independent assessment of potential impacts of fracking in our state so that we can make an informed decision about whether or how to proceed with this controversial drilling practice.”

Some of our local legislative leaders have and will continue to push for drilling in Maryland, but we must unite and take a stand to protect our water, air, wildlife, agriculture and the overall quality of life that we enjoy here in our beautiful Appalachian Mountains.

I believe that the lyrics from Del McCoury’s song, “Moneyland,” sum up the fracking issue best… “It’s a money disease, a thing called Greed!”

“For the love of money is the root of all evil…”  Timothy 6:10 KJV

Thank you in advance for your support.

Tristan Apple

Frostburg

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