Chesapeake PSR

Fracking regulations can't protect Maryland

Fracking in Maryland, Climate Change and EnergyLydia SullivanComment

Fracking regulations cannot protect Maryland residents from health and environmental harms. Yesterday, Chesapeake PSR submitted comments to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) identifying three fundamental problems with proposed regulations covering unconventional gas development and production (UGDP) as enabled by hydraulic fracturing (the process generally known by the public by the shorthand term, "fracking"). 

First, the regulations on fracking in Maryland are based on outdated and limited scientific information. Second, they do not account for the significant limitations that exist in our knowledge of the complex industrial technologies and processes required to extract gas from shale rock deep below the Earth’s surface and to bring it to market. Third, they allow the industry to continue to hamper scientific inquiry and block the flow of information to state regulators, health professionals and the public.

One example of how Maryland's fracking regulations allow the industry to hamper scientific inquiry is that they allow the operator to attest that chemical information is a trade secret without any explanation or justification, and fail to provide an administrative mechanism for medical and health professionals to challenge such determinations; allow the company to require public health professionals to sign fracking nondisclosure agreements covering certain chemical information they receive (commonly referred to as a “gag rule"); allow the operator to keep information secret from local emergency response agencies; and allow companies to use chemicals that have not yet been assessed for a range of toxicities, including carcinogenic, neurotoxic, teratogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties. 

Chesapeake PSR's conclusion, based on an exhaustive review of the scientific literature, is that there is no evidence that any regulatory framework can adequately protect the public or the environment from the harms of fracking; therefore, we believe that unconventional gas development and production should not be permitted in our state. 

Read more about Chesapeake PSR's efforts to ban fracking in Maryland in the 2017 Maryland General Assembly session. Read out health professional sign-on letter in support of a ban, and read our issue paper, The Health Effects of Fracking

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