As a resident of Myersville, I was dismayed to read Delegate Kathy Afzali’s recent letter to her constituents where she wrote that she has “heard some incredibly wacky testimony ... but that this one takes the cake.” She then proceeds to minimize the potential negative effects of fracking, stating that environmentalists claim “that fracking causes social problems like STD’s. No kidding!!!! OMG!”

Well, to use Afzali’s own words: “OMG.”

If the only information Afzali was able to discern from the data presented in the Regional Economic Studies Institute of Towson University economic study, the University of Maryland public health report or the testimony of physicians, scientists and experts is that fracking may cause an increase in STDs, then I question how well she has familiarized herself with the issue.

But let’s not minimize “social problems.” Those social problems are problems that directly impact the public health, safety and well-being of the community at large. And, to put it another way, those “social problems” often become taxpayer problems as health, education and public safety issues need to be addressed and funded.

For example, Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers noted the staggering economic impact of toxic chemicals and air pollutants in the environment. They found that environmentally induced childhood disease cost approximately $76.6 billion in 2008. If fracking were permitted in Maryland, the University of Maryland health report found a high likelihood of negative public health impacts from air pollution. They also found a high likelihood of negative public health impacts with regard to health care infrastructure, occupational health and social determinants of health. (Yes, that includes things like STDs, which can be passed on unknowingly and which can lead to infertility.)

Further, the authors of the Best Management Practices report, which serves as the basis for the proposed regulations, state that little data was available during the time the study was undertaken. In fact, roughly three-fourths of the peer-reviewed studies of shale gas development impacts were done after that report was completed. The Frederick News-Post published an excellent editorial on the issue of fracking on Feb. 12.

Afzali directs us to a House Republican Caucus video promising we will “get a good laugh.” I would note that the “environmentalist” providing testimony in that video is David Vanko, Ph.D., dean, Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, Towson University, and chairman of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission. I am appalled that he is being demeaned in such a way.

Finally, Afzali represents Myersville, a town that now deals with infrastructure related to fracking, specifically a 16,000-horsepower natural gas compressor station. A station that, two weeks after it went online in November, is being considered to double the amount of compression. Myersville deals with the pollution and negative effects from the build-out of fracking. We don’t find this funny at all, Delegate Afzali.

Ann M. Nau

writes from Myersville and is a member of Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community.

(14) comments

gary4books

There ought to be some sort of rule that states "If you have to lie to make your point in a discussion - you lose."

That would clean up some of these pages. The real story about fracking is it has risks and depends on constant and continuing supervision to stay safe and effective. But if we look at area like West Virginia we know it is human nature to let off on supervision of rules and cause many problems not planned for.

We can frack safely. But that does not mean we will.

FrederickVeteran

I don't believe people like Afazli share love for America like we do.

gary4books

Perhaps they know more than you do.

b1sellers

You got what you voted for.

Nicki

This is the republican way-
If you can't use your brain to debate an issue with facts, you turn it into a joke. It's how we get such fun phrases as "rain tax" and "Obamacare".
I laugh all the way to the voting booth.

DickD

I live near Myersville. Perhaps there are some that want the pump station, but I have not met one yet. It is a real concern, as it was to Middletown, who did manage to deter the pump station from being built there. There can be little doubt that fracking will bring in money and outside construction or more correctly stated, workers to dig and drill the wells to do the fracking. It is the outside workers, coming from all over the country, working away from home, bringing in diseases with them that could cause the STD that Afzali makes fun of and it is a social problem, not an actual result of fracking. Still, if you live in the area, it is a concern. Afzali needs to grow up. If she had been more mature she would never have sent the nasty note to Sheriff Jenkins and he would never have called the FNP to make a big public issue out of it.

HappyMedium

Didn't Jenkins announce he'd received the text while speaking at a public meeting the FNP was covering.

I don't Jenkins called the FNP after the meeting to report it.

DickD

I think you are right, FNP was covering his meeting. But did they have access to his phone without his telling them?

HappyMedium

No Jenkins announced while he was speaking he'd gotten the text.

The text was more interesting than the reason he was there to speak.

What a lucky break.

SFlores

As a resident of Myersville, who is supposedly represented by Afzali, laughing & making light of anything to do with fracking or the gas compressor station that directly affects us is juvenile but I guess typical. The fact that she did NOTHING to help us here since it didn't directly affect her & where she lives in Middletown (that, shocker, was successful in keeping DTI out) it's just business as usual for her.

DickD

Afzali does live in Middletown, can we disown her? Maybe we can introduce her to some of those workers that will be working on the fracking.

HappyMedium

There were three Republicans and one Democrat who ran; three needed to be elected and the Democrat took the precarious position supporting teachers.

You just need to find a more electable candidate for 2018.

threecents


This is about the only time I have agreed with Afzali. Blaming fracking for STDs makes about as much sense as blaming the FNP for making our roads unsafe by delivering the paper on a snow day. (FNP, thanks for my paper. Sorry I didn't shovel last night.)

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