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Weigh in On Maryland Fracking

Posted: 01/25/2013
by Kevin Colburn

Western Maryland is home to the Marcellus Shale formation, now infamous for burgeoning natural gas production accomplished by a controversial technique known as hydaulic fracturing or "fracking."  This region is an important headwaters and freshwater resource for millions of people that depend on water from both the Potomac and Youghiogheny River basins.  These rivers also offer paddlers incredible recreational opportunities, and provide the regional economy with a significant and sustainable recreation-related stimulus.

Currently no permits for fracking have been issued in Maryland, and state legislators will soon be introducing an official legislative moratorium that will restrict permit issuance of permits until up to 14 studies are funded and completed. These studies will range from environmental studies, technical studies regarding the fracking process and socio and economic studies that will assess the economic impacts from potential large scale industrial development of what currently is a rural and outdoor recreational resource.

American Whitewater generally supports robust ecological, recreational, and economic studies prior to actions that have the potential to have lasting impacts on public trust resources like rivers.  We will be tracking and carefully reviewing the proposed legislation.  

During the current legislative session ending in April, a bill will be introduced to require Maryland to complete these studies before fracking permits can be issued.  Maryland citizens can contact their representatives at any time to share your feelings on fracking, and the role that studies should play in natural gas development.