Maryland's legislature passed an impervious surface tax, better known as the rain tax, in 2012. Maryland is the only state that taxes rainwater (pollution run-off), which sounds like they are "stewards of the environment" and have great concern for the streams and rivers flowing into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Flash forward to 2015 and the concern of arsenic, hydrochloric/muriatic acid, potassium chloride, radon and radium (to name a few) leaching from fracking well sites into that same watershed is somehow nonexistent and no cause for alarm?
A recently released list from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection documents over 250 identified cases where a private water supply has been impacted by gas activities in that state.
I hope people realize fracking not only affects Western Maryland and that the Taylorsville Basin runs under the Potomac River and through Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties. Texas-based Shore Exploration & Production Corp. has already leased 84,000 acres in neighboring Virginia waiting for a change in Maryland's moratorium.
The late George Mitchell, a pioneer in the economic extraction of shale gas, rarely spoke to the press but stated in an interview in 2012 that "As a concerned businessman and philanthropist, I have come to understand that the natural gas industry can no longer simply focus on the benefits of shale gas while failing to address its challenges. We know that there are significant impacts on air quality, water consumption, water contamination and local communities. Some in the industry have been reluctant to support common-sense regulation, and that needs to change. We need to replace all-or-nothing arguments with a reasoned discussion that identifies a new path forward."
If the pioneer of this technology showed concern and knew there were significant impacts prior to his passing, Maryland's legislators need to take a serious look at this endeavor, do their research and come up with an alternative to gain revenues and serve the people they promised to represent.
Industry and tourism in Maryland is a "volatile cocktail" (a fracking term used to describe chemicals pumped into the wells). If Maryland approves fracking, we're all in for a serious hangover.
Rhonda Snyder Riesco, McHenry