3-14-12: The State of the Shale in Our State

March 14, 2012 at 8:05 am 2 comments

A map of the layout of the Marcellus Shale.

A group of Maryland scientists, gas industry representatives, and environmentalists is looking at what the impacts might be of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation underneath six mid-Atlantic states, including western Maryland.

Governor O’Malley set up the commission last year because of the controversy surrounding the process that would be used to extract the gas–hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. There’s no drilling going on in Maryland until the study is completed–the deadline is August 2014.

Already some energy companies are leasing land in Maryland’s two westernmost counties, Allegany and Garrett, where the Marcellus shale gas is most accessible.

In this year’s General Assembly, more than a dozen bills deal with drilling in the Marcellus. One of the bills, proposed by Senator Brian Frosh and Democrat Heather Mizeur, both of Montgomery County, would charge a fee on each acre gas companies want to lease drilling. That would go to fund the study done by the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative–it would be about $10 per acre.

There are also two bills that would create a severance tax.  Democratic Delegates Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore and Sheila Hixson of Montgomery County are proposing a 15 percent tax. Meanwhile, Republican Senator George Edwards, who represents Garrett and Allegany Counties, is proposing a 2.5% severance tax. (Quite a big difference between those numbers.)  You can see how that severance tax compare to other states on this handy chart from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sheilah talks with Senator Brian Frosh about his bill and with Drew Cobbs, Executive Director of the Maryland Petroleum Council, about how these measures could affect the future of drilling in Maryland.

Here, in this web extra, Sheilah asks how drilling in the Shale could benefit the economy of western Maryland:

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

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlotte Diedrich  |  March 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I heard your discussion on the Shale problem. Brian Frosh brought out much of the information, but he did not mention ” The Big Frackiing Bubble” – the scam behind the gas boom involving Chesapeake Energy, headed by Aubrey McClendon. This story is in the March 15, 2012 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. It can be accessed on line. Chesapeake Energy was the company mentioned last Fall in connection with the Western Maryland Shale are.
    Thank you for your very interesting discussions. 🙂

  • 2. edburghard  |  March 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Here is a link to resources that provides free information on the opportunities and challenges of shale energy – http://strengtheningbrandamerica.com/place-brandaid/leveraging-the-shale-energy-opportunity/resources-to-better-understand-the-shale-energy-industry/


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