Thursday 22 February 2018

Press Statements (61)

Governor O’Malley finally answered the question of if or when to allow fracking in Maryland with his release yesterday of final recommendations for regulating hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Western Maryland. Maryland did apply the breaks and approach the question of whether or not to frack with caution through analysis by the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, unlike Pennsylvania and West Virginia that have rushed to frack. Unfortunately, the commission’s analysis, especially with regards to public health and risks assessment, is seriously flawed and ignores tens of thousands of Marylanders who oppose fracking. The threats to western Maryland’s economy, water resources, forests and people are very real, even with all of the best management practices in place. Accidents and failures with all aspects of fracking do and will happen. It has become increasingly clear that fracking cannot be done safely, so the safest strategy for drilling for gas in Maryland -- and any state -- is to not drill for that gas at all. Fracking uses huge quantities of water and undisclosed toxic chemicals to break up shale formations deep underground to release natural gas. New roads, thousands of trucks, new pipelines and compressor stations, and millions of gallons of toxic and radioactive waste accompany the drilling. The federal government has exempt fracking from key provisions of all landmark environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and laws regulating hazardous wastes. It is critical for the future health of our families,…
Waterkeepers Chesapeake Commends The U.S. Forest Service Plan to Prohibit Fracking on George Washington National Forest Land Waterkeepers call for a fracking prohibition on all public lands. Last week, the U.S. Forest Service released its final management plan for the 1.1 million acre George Washington National Forest, revising the 1993 plan. The plan includes the decision to make a majority of the forest unavailable for oil and gas drilling, except for a portion of the forest already under gas lease or subject to private mineral rights. Waterkeepers Chesapeake is pleased that the Forest Service’s plan makes it clear that industrialized oil and gas drilling does not belong in a national forest and is not compatible with protecting the health of our natural resources and waterways. An oil and gas company already leases about 10,000 acres within the forest and mineral rights on additional 167,000 acres are privately owned. That land will remain open for drilling. If a company wants to drill on land it leases, it must first obtain federal and state permits. A private owner of mineral rights must obtain only a state permit. Waterkeepers Chesapeake argues that all public lands should be protected from hydraulic fracturing or fracking for natural gas and oil no matter the status of mineral rights ownership. We call upon local, state and federal officials to protect our natural resources, waterways, and local and regional economies by prohibiting fracking on all public lands. We ask that Governor McAuliffe follow up on his opposition to fracking…
 Advocates Say New Rule to Limit Manure Represents Biggest Opportunity for Clean Water in 30 Years (Annapolis, MD) – A Salisbury University economic study shows a new rule to better manage manure would be comparable to, or cost less than, other Chesapeake Bay pollution-reduction efforts, said a coalition of nonprofit organizations working to reduce pollution and increase transparency from agriculture. The study provided an overall cost estimate for the agricultural industry to implement the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) using a phased-in approach, which advocates say shows the new rule is workable. The science-based PMT would reduce pollution by limiting manure applied to farm fields already contaminated with excess phosphorus levels. The rule would improve water quality, protect public health reduce harmful algae blooms. “Phosphorus pollution from manure is getting worse, not better in the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland waterways. If this continues, Maryland will jeopardize the decades of progress we’ve made to clean up our waters,” said Joanna Diamond of Environment Maryland. Experts say the new manure rule is one of the biggest opportunities to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and local waters in more than 30 years. “It is past time to stop studying this issue and time to start acting,” said Bob Gallagher, of West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. “Rarely can a single initiative achieve such huge pollution reductions in one fell swoop. The new phosphorus rule, like the phosphorus detergent ban of the 1980s, is one of those opportunities to really make a difference.” When compared to other pollution…