Standing Against Fracking in Maryland

As a healthcare advocate with twenty years experience, I feel compelled to speak out against fracking, the process in which chemicals and other agents are used in the production of natural gas, and comment on the Draft Marcellus Shale Drilling Initiative Study: Part II Best Practices. My comments below have been submitted in the public comment period held by the Maryland Department of Environment. You can join the conversation here or hear thoughts from other Marylanders on MDE’s website.

I am deeply troubled by the serious health and environmental risks that hydraulic fracturing brings, and implore the Maryland Department of Environment to conduct a full impact analysis examining the threats that fracking poses to human health and environmental protection, fulfilling Governor O’Malley’s 2011 Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Executive Order (E.O. 01.01.2011.11).

One serious problem with the BMPs is the effect that their lack of transparency would have on public health for Maryland residents, due to gag rules and confidentiality agreements that leave watchdog organizations, health care professionals, the media and lawmakers out of the loop on exposure data.

To protect the integrity of transparency in Maryland and allow for a true look at the impact fracking has on our health, we must disclose the chemicals used in fracking which are currently exempted under OSHA trade secret rules, prohibit exploitive non-disclosure agreements between drillers and landowners that silence the truth about the dangers of fracking, establish an efficient process for health professionals to receive the information needed for rapid and effective treatment of affected patients. We must also block the leak of methane from fracking wells at any time, construction to production, to prevent dangerous methane flaring.

I appreciate Governor O’Malley and the MDE’s effort on this topic, and hope that feedback on the Draft Marcellus Shale Drilling Initiative Study Best Practices will be weighed with gravity. It is my hope that once the impact analysis is complete Marylanders can move forward into a healthier, more sustainable future free of the devastating human health and environmental consequences of fracking.

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