Energy. Environment. Economy.

Maryland’s Marcellus Shale Commission Begins To Set Fracking Guidelines

While New York hit another snag in its attempt to draft hydraulic fracturing regulations, the panel tasked with creating Maryland’s fracking policy is moving forward.

The  Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission held an initial vote last week. The Cumberland Times-News reports the panel decided:

• A minimum amount should be established for a performance bond that would be required of drillers attempting to extract natural gas by what is known as fracking.

• Drilling companies that have sufficient assets and financial stability should be allowed to self-insure.

• There should be a mechanism to verify that funds will be available to address environmental cleanups that are not covered by comprehensive liability insurance.

• The Maryland Department of the Environment should be allowed to periodically adjust required bond amounts based upon changing costs of reclamation.


  • John Moyer

    Great … They actually plan on damaging the environment while stating how safe drilling is???

    • VAppalachia1

      The Advisory Commission is tasked to the study impacts of industrial shale gas development in Maryland. For two years, the gas industry has blocked attempts in the MD Legislature to secure funding from mineral leasing revenue to pay for the requisite hydrology studies. Since funds are not available to gain a complete understanding of Mountain Maryland’s aquifers, many are concerned that the Commission’s work will be incomplete and leave Maryland residents and resources without adequate protections should the industry be allowed to move forward.

      Other specific tasks of the Commission, in order of assignment, are: to recommend ways to establish revenue sources to cover potential damages (that’s what this story is about); to recommend best management practices for industrial gas development in MD; AND to produce a final report on all aspects of shale gas development to determine WHETHER or how it can be done safely.

      Although the order of tasks implies that drilling will eventually occur, many Marylanders hold out hope that the State Commission and Agencies will not permit Maryland’s mountains to be turned into the next Gasland.

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