What do citizens do when their elected officials ignore their calls for a fracking ban? They organize; part of their story follows.
Delegate Jason Buckel attended the November 10 special meeting of the Frostburg City Council and said the debate about fracking needs to occur in Annapolis.
However, he, and the entire Western Maryland delegation, are still reporting to their Annapolis colleagues that their constituents want natural gas extraction. Hardly an honest debate.
Meanwhile, statewide polls show twice as many citizens oppose fracking as support it, including opposition by both Republicans and Democrats in Garrett County.
Town officials of Mountain Lake Park and Friendsville have banned fracking — actions supported by their constituents.
In August, Allegany County Commissioners sent a letter to Chairman Kumar Barve of the House Environment & Transportation Committee to “strongly urge the Committee to look favorably on the prospect of natural gas drilling in western Maryland” without ever once mentioning the threats to drinking water and health that concern their constituents (also documented in polls).
However, close to 700 Frostburg citizens and 26 business owners signed petitions supporting banning fracking, many expressing concerns about their drinking water sources in Garrett County.
Frostburg City Council listened to their concerns and is moving forward to prohibit fracking in order to protect the health and safety of residents and the water supplies for over 12,000 Western Marylanders — including 14 small communities dependent on the city for drinking water.
It is precisely because citizens’ voices have been misrepresented by county commissioners and the Western Maryland delegation that citizens have organized and will continue to do so.
Leadership in both the House and the Senate are aware of local ban efforts and polling data and must wonder what special interests are driving the western Maryland delegation and county governments to misrepresent their citizens.
Ann Bristow - Garrett County resident, Frostburg
Nina Forsythe - Allegany County resident, Frostburg
Frack-Free Frostburg members