MD House E & T Committee Visits Western MD to Hear Concerns on Fracking

We spent Tuesday in McHenry, Maryland at the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee meetings and public hearing. The committee visited western Maryland to accept testimony from citizens on Maryland’s current moratorium on fracking and whether that moratorium should become a permanent ban. At 11AM the committee heard from a panel of citizens generally in favor of fracking. At 2PM the committee then heard testimony from those generally opposed including Jess Whittemore who spearheaded the ban on fracking in Friendsville. At 6:30 a public hearing was held in which citizens were given two minutes to testify. Several hundred people were in attendance and those opposed to fracking far outnumbered those in favor. Concerns ranged from water quality, impacts to tourism and property values, truck traffic, and industrialization of rural areas.

While several shale basins exist in Maryland the Marcellus shale is by far the largest, and most of that basin lies within the Youghiogheny River watershed.

Kudos to the folks at Citizen Shale for their work to turn people out for this event. Their organizing and advocacy work was vital in securing the current moratorium. A big thanks goes to the House E & T Committee for their willingness to visit western Maryland to hear people’s concerns.