Dominion Resources Inc.'s plan to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal at Cove Point in Calvert County is hotly controversial among Marylanders ("Cove Point project opponents raise safety concerns," Jan. 26). The project would create more demand for gas retrieved by the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Though championed by Dominion as an economic gain, the project would raise gas prices in Maryland in addition to encouraging fracking. The question remains, what would Dominion's plan really mean for Maryland? Would Marylanders benefit?
To answer this question, I encourage readers to take a look at Shalefield Stories, a new booklet designed and published by concerned citizens in which people impacted by fracking tell their stories in their own words.
Judy Armstrong Stiles of Bradford County, Penn. tells of finding barium and arsenic in her drinking water and then in her own blood after drilling began on her land. Within a month, Judy and her husband Carl began experiencing peeling skin rashes, dizzy spells and stomach pains. When their daughter moved back home, she began suffering from severe health issues, too, including daily seizures and lead poisoning.
C.J. Bevins of Smyrna, N.Y. was tragically killed while working on a hazardous drill site. C.J. was crushed by an industrial-sized forklift when the unstable ground beneath him gave way. His employer was found to be at fault for not providing adequate safety equipment and was fined just $4,900. Though corporations often claim they will create more jobs, worker safety may be neither a priority nor a guarantee.
Natural gas should not come at a cost of disease and family trauma. So today, let's listen to what the real people in Shalefield Stories are telling us about the tragedy of dirty drilling. If we stop Dominion's plans for Cove Point now, perhaps our residents will never have to publish a sequel.
Hager Koraym, Baltimore
The writer is an intern with Environment America Research & Policy Center.
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