Concerns over fracking dominated the discussion on Thursday at a town hall meeting held by Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner to discuss items on the county’s 2017 legislative agenda.

Gardner sent letters to 75 local organizations in August, requesting suggestions for legislation to send to Annapolis when the Maryland General Assembly reconvenes in January.

In Thursday’s meeting, Gardner invited residents to weigh in on the proposals that made it to the county’s 2017 legislative package, or suggest new initiatives of their own.

Roughly 17 members of Frederick County Ban Fracking Now, a grassroots organization, attended the meeting to emphasize their support for a statewide ban on fracking. Five separate speakers from the group requested that Frederick County submit a resolution to the General Assembly requesting a statewide ban, and ban fracking within the county.

“This is bigger than us,” said Alicia Barmon, a resident of Johnsville and a leader of the Ban Fracking group. “If western Maryland is fracked, we will see the impact here in Frederick County.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the practice of drilling deep into the earth to reach natural shale formations, then injecting water through deep-run pipes to crack the rock and release oil and natural gas deposits. It has been attributed to the pollution of groundwater and an increase in earthquakes, though scientists tend to disagree on the true biological impact of the drilling.

Gardner opposes fracking, but she stressed in the meeting that the practice is unlikely to enter Frederick County. There are few local deposits of shale, and current zoning laws also significantly restrict where prospective fracking operations would be able to set up here, she said.

Gardner also heard suggestions on a variety of topics other than fracking. Anthony Moscato, a resident of downtown Frederick, asked that the county propose a bond bill to receive funding for repair and maintenance at Rose Hill Manor Park, a historical landmark on North Market Street in Frederick.

Jane Weir, a Middletown resident, also asked that Gardner withhold support for the downtown hotel and conference center, a future development by Plamondon Hospitality Partners in Frederick. Weir expressed concern that public funding would be used for the hotel portion of the project, despite past assurances that would not happen.

Other residents also expressed support for pre-existing legislative initiatives. Ed Hinde, the executive director of the Student Homeless Initiative Partnership of Frederick County, thanked Gardner for accepting a proposal submitted by the organization.

That proposal would allow tax-exempt hotel stays for needy families if the room is paid for by the government or a human service agency.

According to Gardner, she plans to take the ideas suggested in the town hall meeting to the County Council, which will vote on new initiatives and finalize the 2017 legislative package at a workshop on Oct. 25.

Follow Kate Masters on Twitter: @kamamasters.

Kate Masters is the features and food reporter for The Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at

(8) comments


Just ask the citizens and seismologists of Oklahoma if tracking, sinkholes, and daily significant earthquakes, and profits before human welfare make sense !!


How far will fracking cause problems with our drinking water, does anyone know? Middletown gets all of it's water from deep wells, does this aquifer go all the way down to southern Virginia, as Mav states? What about Pennsylvania, what is going in there?


To my earlier comments that should "tracking" although tracking may apply too.


FNP reporter kate masters -

You need to do some fact checking. I know, I know, it involves effort. See the comment below from Jersey Girl


FRACKING ban in the Frederick REGION fails to recognized Virginia's leasing of public lands (south western. Virginia and leasing out 85,000 acres of land to FRACKING (Gas/Oil) INTEREST. When it comes fracking strategies in King George County Virginia, it should be noted that the aquifier for clean water, runs not only under Virginia but Maryland as well. Poison the drinking water in Virginia, (Gas/Oil fracking interest and leasing proposals) we are also consenting to Maryland's Tidal Basin being poisoned as well by the use of chemicals and carcinogens that Gas/Oil have yet to identify to the public. King George County Virginia is still holding its own and against FRACKING. King George County is part of a Virginia REGION that's champing at the bit, from the side lines, in hopes the King George BOS will fail while they can inherit the monies that Gas/Oil brings with it.

Not sure any of us want to GAMBLE with our clean water standards and resources. After all, it only takes one drilling hole to take out an entire REGION's water resources. There is much more to this story than anyone could possibly imagine.


"...past assurances that the City would not pay for the (hotel & conference center development" C'mon. p5 of the 5-party MOU recently released says the City will put up $5.95 million. It has already spent over $1 million. A hotel project sponsored by the city, on a site chosen by the city, the developer picked by the City, on land to be bought by the city, and you seriously believe the City won't be held responsible for losses. We've got a bridge to sell you guys.


Peter, never wanted it, but want it less now, good explanation about what our conniving politicians are doing.[thumbup]


Jane's concerns are real and this reporter needs to do a better job of fact checking, the facts are that City, County and State tax payers will cough up $50 + million in a multiplicity of fashions towards the hotel project, money that could be used to build an entire elementary school to absorb the equivalent of the 600+ new students in Frederick county...instead , if this project goes forward it will enrich two families, the Randalls who own the property and the Plamondons who want us to help put more money in their pockets and more children than ever will be schooled in trailers. Anyone who assured city (or any other taxpayer in this state) that public funding would not be used is lying.....and those facts have been previously reported in this paper....

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