New fracking rules won't protect the environment

Hogan touts fracking while dismissing solar and wind alternatives.

The Maryland Department of the Environment's stated goals of protecting public health, safety, the environment and natural resources are all admirable, but they are not reflected in the agency's proposed regulations on fracking ("Lawmakers should ban fracking in Maryland," Oct. 3).

Under the proposed rules, any drilling site must be at least 1,000 feet from a drinking water well and it must have four layers of steel casings along with cement barriers. That sounds impressive but these components are in reality little more than lawn ornaments.

A large part of fracking involves drilling horizontally underground into aquifers and layers of shale some distance from the wellhead.

Moreover, any polluted water would have to be replaced with clean water by the energy company. But the planet's overall toxicity would still increase.

Regardless of where wellheads are located, water — and any pollution borne by it — is one of the most migratory compounds on earth.

Water tables interact with watersheds and the oceans are our wash basins. Even in rare cases when pollution can be completely contained, doing so decreases the amount of viable earth.

Gov. Larry Hogan supports fracking in part because he believes it will create jobs. Funny — not too long ago he vetoed a bill predicted to create an additional 1,000 renewable energy jobs annually in Maryland.

Those jobs, which were mainly in the solar and wind energy industries, have staying power, whereas fracking jobs are often boom or bust investments due to the nature of the industry.

All the arguments for fracking are pitifully short-sighted. Think of it like this: Would you dump lead into your well just to push up one glass of clean water?

Kevin Kriescher, Baltimore

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