I was surprised to see in Tim Wheeler's report on the latest Cove Point permit ("State gives gas export facility go-ahead," July 23) that Gov. Martin O'Malley has decided that fracked gas is a bridge fuel and that fracking can be done safely if the government sets the "highest and best" standards. How has the governor reached that conclusion before having seen the report from his own Marcellus Shale advisory commission? His 2011 executive order instructed the panel to determine whether and how fracking could be done without unacceptable risks to health, safety and the environment. Numerous state studies are still in the works, including on health effects, risks and traffic. But the governor appears to have decided all on his own.
I've attended many of the shale commission meetings and have seen no evidence that fracking can be done safely. To the contrary, I've seen study after study indicate its hazards to air, water, soil and the people and animals living nearby. Of course, to approve Cove Point is to approve the fracking that will feed it. The two are inseparable. I encourage the governor to take time off from campaigning for president to more carefully study the many hazards of fracking and of exporting fracked gas from Cove Point.
Elisabeth Hoffman, Clarksville
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