Fracking will boost Maryland's economy

Minimal risk associated with fracking in Maryland

Wenonah Hauter's recent op-ed on the dangers of fracking in Maryland missed the mark completely ("There is no safe fracking, Mr. O'Malley," Dec. 3).

Ms. Hauter argues that Gov. Martin O'Malley "mishandled" the decision to allow fracking in the state. What she fails to acknowledge is that Mr. O'Malley had the state Department of Natural Resources conduct a three-year study of the issue, which found that "the risks of Marcellus Shale development can be managed to an acceptable level."

The study also found that the risks associated with shale development have been properly managed in neighboring states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In fact, thanks to increased natural gas production, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported a 73 percent decrease in sulfur dioxides, a 26 percent decrease in particulate matter and a 23 percent decrease in nitrogen oxides.

Last month, President Barack Obama touted shale development, saying "we are importing less foreign oil than we produce for the first time in a very long time. We've got a 100-year supply of natural gas that if we responsibly tap puts us in the strongest position when it comes to energy of any industrial country around the world."

This is a bipartisan issue. We all need energy, and without fracking New England will continue to pay some of the highest rates in the country for it.

As Mr. O'Malley rightly stated, "we're committed to ensuring that Marylanders have access to the economic opportunities associated with fracking."

Joseph P. Massaro, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The writer is a spokesperson for Energy In Depth, an educational outreach arm of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

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