Proposed Md. fracking regulations are too restrictive

Maryland's proposed fracking regulations are too restrictive.

As president of the Garrett County Farm Bureau and the Energy and Property Rights Coalition, I would like to express our concerns about Maryland's proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations and ask that they be placed on hold for further consideration.

As we interpret the regulations, we feel they do not strike an equitable balance between consideration of the environment, the rights of property owners and the need for our society to produce energy. I would like to stress that we are not seeking a "Drill, Baby, Drill" philosophy, but we agree with former Gov. Martin O'Malley's commission that, with good regulation, we can produce shale gas in Maryland with acceptable risk.

Two areas of greatest concern lie with the cumulative restrictions of the setbacks, which exclude 98 percent of our land area from consideration for well sites and the Comprehensive Development Plan that is complicated, expensive, litigious and time consuming to create. Over the years, Maryland has built an effective system for permitting mines that provides regulatory certainty to a prospective producer and allows for adaptation over time as the operation expands or technology changes. This system would work for gas production.

With those two exceptions, I think we could find common ground on many other parts of the proposed regulations.

It is not in the best interest of the state of Maryland to create a standard, which, if applied on a national scale, would cut off the supply of gas that we all depend on. I believe that Maryland has a chance to create a true Gold Standard here, but we need to keep working on it because we are not there yet.

Bill Bishoff

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