WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Are Fracking Fees The Future In Maryland?

Play associated audio
Some are concerned about the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into shale formations to crack the rocks and release natural gas.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Some are concerned about the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into shale formations to crack the rocks and release natural gas.

A bill in Maryland that would implement a fee on all land leased for the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as "fracking" has passed the House of Delegates by an 88-49 vote.

Del. Heather Mizuer (D) of Montgomery County sponsored the bill, which would take the money raised by the fees and spend it on a study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing. Opponents of the practice say the technique is responsible for poisoned water supplies and earthquakes in other states that lie on top of the Marcellus Shale. Companies are seeking to extract natural gas from the rock formation in Maryland.

"It's a question of whether does the taxpayer pay or does the industry pay? And we think the industry should pay for this," Mizuer said after a floord debate in the House.

Mizuer dismissed claims that growth of the industry in the state would bring jobs with it, noting that gas companies bring in professionals on their payrolls from outside the area.

 

"These aren't jobs for the local area," Mizeur said. "These are jobs for oil and gas professionals that are brought in from Texas, Louisiana, and other oil producing states."

One of the dissenters on the measure was Republican Wendell Beitzel, who represents Allegany and Garrett counties, the only two Maryland counties that lie on top of the Marcellus Shale.

 

"I'm fearful that what we're going to see is the companies that would even think of coming to Maryland to drill a well will say there's a big sign at our border saying 'Gas Companies Not Welcome,'" said Beitzel.

Republican delegate Michael McDermott of the Eastern Shore took a different tacking, saying the Demoratic majority in Annapolis are picking and choosing which energy industries to support based on politics: "Would you say that it's fair that we offer incentives for people to develop wind and solar, and yet we require this industry to pay us to study whether or not we should do it?"

Eric Robison lives in Garrett County and co-founded a website that warns of the dangers of fracking. He said drilling could ruin Garrett County's main industry: tourism.

"What will be the impact of a industrial process be on a tourist economy?" asked Robison. "We've taken almost 25 years to build it up to this point, and now we're going in a very short period of time to crash it, slow it down?"

Getting the fracking fees bill through the Senate will be much tougher than its passage in the House, said Mizeur.

WAMU 88.5

Customers Bid Farewell To One Of The D.C. Region's Last Video Stores

Longtime movie lovers say they'll miss the shop, but they'll especially mourn the gradual death of an American tradition.
NPR

Tabasco And Beer-Flavored: Not Your Easter Bunny's Jelly Beans

On the eve of Easter and National Jelly Bean Day, let us probe the mysterious origins and unexpected ascendency of the humble candy. And to celebrate, we've sampled Jelly Belly's newest flavors.
WAMU 88.5

Analysis: U.S. Capitol Renovations And The D.C. Council's Lawsuit Against Mayor Gray

Roll Call's David Hawkings joins Matt Bush to discuss the D.C. council's suit against Mayor Gray and the expensive process of rehabilitating the U.S. Capitol Dome.
WAMU 88.5

Free Public Wi-Fi Comes To NoMa

The NoMa Business Improvement District has started to provide free Wi-Fi in some parts of the neighborhood, but some users say the service is still too sluggish.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.