I am glad to see the Sunpaper via Tim Wheeler has again cast some light on the gas/Marcellus shale exploration and land leasing problems in the western part of our state ("Second thoughts on gas leasing," Jan. 1). It should come as no surprise to us that the drilling operators and contractors refuse to reveal the down side of their operations or the shortcomings of their property leases; one has only to look at our neighbors to the north and what has happened to their water supplies, their roads and streams. If one needs more proof, then look to parts of Texas and Wyoming. It enough to cause us to unleash the dogs when we see a leasing agent at our door.
Each and every one of us should demand that state and local officials ride herd on these operators to keep them in line and have in place the tools and manpower to monitor their day-to-day operation. There should be requirements that each operator be bonded at a high enough figure to permanently correct any damages to all landowners' property and water sources private or public.
The state officials in Annapolis have the responsibility to ensure that drilling does not commence until these officials are sure that the state Department of the Environment has the manpower and the funds and authority to enforce all rules and regulations. Our state is still recovering from the strip mine operators. The problems that can arise from fracking, if not done properly, can make strip mining damage look like child's play. To be sure, these oil and gas guys are on their way, and they play rough.
Mike Grimes, Owings Mills