12-7-10: The Shale Down There

December 7, 2010 at 10:32 am 1 comment

The Marcellus Shale is a geological formation that lies under part of the northeastern United States.  In Maryland, that includes Garrett and Allegany Counties in the western part of the state.  Over the past decade, the shale has garnered more attention than your average rock:  That’s because it encases a vast amount of natural gas, which is now profitable to extract with the development of new drilling techniques.

The state of Pennsylvania has been the most gung-ho in terms of drilling into the shale.  That has brought both jobs and development to the state—along with notorious cases of water contamination.

There has been no drilling in western Maryland–yet.  However, in Garrett County alone, at least 100-thousand acres have already been leased by landowners for drilling.

Now, some of those companies are applying to the county—and the state—to begin drilling operations.

Sheilah talks with Kristi Gittins, the Vice President of Industry and Public Affairs for Chief Oil & Gas, which is one of the companies that is planning to apply to drill in Garrett County.  She also talks with Eric Robison, co-founder of the group Save Western Maryland.  The group’s mission is to protect the heritage and environment of the area.

We had originally planned to speak with Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, Robert Summers, which will be regulating drilling in the Marcellus in Maryland.  We were unable to interview him due to scheduling conflicts, but he did provide us with the following statement:

The Maryland Department of the Environment is carefully reviewing Samson Resource’s application to drill in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland and has had preliminary discussions with Chief Oil & Gas about the permitting process. The Department has never considered a permit of this type before, and new technologies and methods are being developed to improve the drilling process, reduce the amount of new water needed per site and improve the reuse and treatment of wastewater. We have been closely observing the activities relating to the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and New York and have consulted with government regulators and technical and scientific experts in those states to be sure that we are aware of all of the relevant issues that should be addressed in a permit application. We have the authority we need to place conditions on permits to provide for public safety and to protect the environment. We intend to require state-of-the-art environmental protection measures.  If the risk is determined to be unacceptable, the Department could deny the permit request. No hearing on a permit application will be scheduled until the Department has obtained all of the necessary information.

Entry filed under: Energy, Environment, On Air. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Scottie  |  December 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Everyone should be required to watch the documentary” Gasland” where other states like Colorado, Texas and others have permitted fracking. The images are bone chilling of a person turning on the kitchen tap, taking a lighter and literally lighting the water on fire not to mention from others the contamination to wells and farmers having to truck water in for their herds, not being able to sell their farms due to water contamination. Fracking is a Pandora’s Box that shouldn’t be opened ever!


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