On January 22, 2013 I attended a State Senate hearing of the Committee for Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs in Annapolis, about the bill that would levy a fee of $10 per acre on leased land for fracking to help finance an environmental impact study before giving out permits for gas fracking in Maryland´s Marcellus Shale in Garrett County. There were representatives of the extracting industry, representatives of CCAN as well Senator Frosh presenting their views. Relevant questions were asked by the committee members.
Still, I was bothered by the ones that were not asked, for example, why the gas industry refuses to disclose the chemicals they are using in the process. Also, nobody spoke about the risks of triggering earthquakes as experienced in parts of the country after building fracking wells. Nobody asked about the inherent dangers of concrete structures and the possiblity of leaks of greenhouse gases over the life span of the wells and of leaks of chemicals into the ground and surface water. It was very unsettling to learn that the industry would be exempt from the Clean Air Act as well as the Clean Water Act. The security asked of companies to put in a reserve for potential lawsuits and damages is so low (I believe something in the order of $150K) that it stands to reason that it would be falling upon the local or state and federal authorities to step in to fill the gaps, in other words the taxpayer.
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