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Fracking requires more scrutiny

Upstream Oil and Gas ActivitiesWater SupplyPetroleum IndustryEnvironmental PoliticsHalliburton Company

Hooray for Del. Heather Mizeur for staring down oil companies over fracking in Maryland ("No studies? No fracking," Sept. 13). Delegate Mizeur is demanding solid, scientific studies of all the risks of fracking before allowing it here. The oil industry maintains that fracking is safe.

But if fracking is safe, why did the oil industry seek, and get, special treatment in the 2005 Energy Bill to keep the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating fracking? This "Halliburton Loophole" is named after former Vice President and Halliburton oil chief Dick Cheney. He helped get this "special treatment" that is still in force today. And if fracking is safe, why did Nationwide Mutual Insurance announce in July that it will no longer insure policyholders who allow fracking on their land? Nationwide says the risks are "too great to ignore."

And if fracking is safe, why did Ohio lawmakers halt underground injection of fracking waste water after more than a dozen earthquakes rocked Ohio this January? Oh, wait — the oil companies say that waste water disposal is not "fracking." Still, deep injection is a standard way to dispose of the toxic water and chemical mix that returns to the surface from fracked wells. It's so nasty that water treatment plants can't clean it up enough to put it back into our water systems.

So until solid scientific studies show that fracking can be done safely, we should just say "no." Because once you let the genie out of the bottle, it's hard to get him back in again. Call your legislators and say, "No studies, no fracking."

Nancy Koran, Bethesda

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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