I read the article “State officials gather input as fracking regs get refined” (June 23 Times-News, Page 1A). I thought some things needed clarification.
First, based on the record, regulating fracking hasn’t worked in any state where fracking has been regulated. Regulation is an attempt to legislate morality. It can’t be done.
The technique can’t be controlled physically. Concrete encased pathways have extremely high compressive strength and relatively low sheer strength. As the earth moves it applies sheer forces the concrete can’t withstand. Over time all these concrete pathways fail. You could probably have as much success trying to control continental drift with regulations.
Somehow, Maryland legislators have gotten the idea that everyone up here is for fracking. At the meeting 15 people spoke against it and one spoke for it. We should find a way to provide Annapolis with that information. People here don’t want fracking.
Sen. George Edwards suggested the process was “very open.” That may be however, not providing the documents three days ahead of the meeting (a typical standard) indicates that MDE may be understaffed. That’s not a good sign of the state’s commitment to the process.
The senator indicated that the regulations are more stringent. That is his opinion, which is not shared by experts who have studied them. I can’t see how letting well pads be constructed more closely to homes, ponds, and water ways is more stringent. We should keep our eye on what the experts say as we learn more about the regulations.
The crowd was upset when MDE announced it had adopted some regulations from Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has a poor record of protecting people and the environment from fracking. Recently, legislators decided to abolish Chapter 78 (regulations related to fracking) so that currently there are no regulations. It makes one wonder why we should adopt regulations from a state that cares so little about people and the environment.
The senator mentioned fracking 50 to 60 years ago in the west. I’ve heard him mention that before. He always forgets to tell people that what we call fracking today wasn’t invented until late 1990s by Halliburton. What they did 60 years ago was relatively benign. Not so today. The processes are so different they shouldn’t be compared.
A Baltimore Sun article about the meeting said state regulators and Ben Grumbles, secretary of the Department of the Environment say the plan is fair and the regulations are balanced.
I don’t understand how fair and balanced get into this process? Is this supposed to be some negotiation where our health, safety, and well being must be reduced to be fair to oil and gas so they can make money more easily? Mr. Grumbles has a track record of being fair. Mr. Grumbles played a significant role in allowing oil and gas to be exempted from the Clean Water Act while he was an acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. Am I supposed to believe he’s looking out for me?
Don’t let the state of Maryland keep misinforming us and making promises they know they can’t keep. Don’t let them focus on politics. Make them focus on fact. Engage legislators both local and downstate. Start letting your state and local representatives know that fracking is unacceptable. Everyone in the state is at risk.