In response to the Frederick News-Post article on Sept. 9, “Regulatory commission approves Myersville gas compressor station expansion,” by Brandi Bottalico, the expansion of the Dominion’s natural gas compressor station in Myersville is a direct result of the infrastructure buildout in support of hydraulic fracturing in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Myersville is just one of many communities in Maryland already feeling the negative impacts of fracking.
In Myersville, Dominion had to sue both the Town of Myersville and the Maryland Department of the Environment using federal pre-emption to get the facility built. Now Dominion plans to double the capacity and polluting emissions transporting more fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Leesburg, Virginia.The Myersville gas compressor station will emit more than 18 tons of particulate matter per year, which equals over 1,700 idling semi-trucks or three trucks per home.
About Garrett County, Natalie Pekney, a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, speaking on April 16, 2016 at the University of Maryland’s Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, said, “There is a detectable change in the quality of Garrett County’s air when winds blow toward western Maryland from fracking operations in neighboring states.”
From Baltimore, according to a University of Maryland study published in the journal Atmospheric Environment on April 30, 2016, “Emissions linked to hydraulic fracturing can be detected hundreds of miles away in states …The strong correlation between Marcellus shale gas production and ethane concentrations in Maryland in particular is a very intriguing result.”
And about Frederick County: Frederick County continues to be in ‘non-attainment’ for ozone. In Sept. 2013, A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study noted that long-term exposure to air pollution leads a higher percentage of the population in Maryland to die prematurely more than in any other state. The study also concluded that large amounts of ozone and small particulate matter in the air can contribute to the development of heart disease, asthma and other lung diseases like cancer.
Numerous recent scientific studies have shown the adverse environmental and health impacts of fracking. Physicians for Social Responsibility published a compendium of scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating the risks and harms of fracking that noted over 80 percent of the existing public health studies show risks or actual harms on human health from fracking. For example, there is a significant association between proximity to fracking operations and premature births and increased hospitalization rates for cardiac and neurological illnesses in heavily fracked counties in Pennsylvania.
Maryland must pass a permanent fracking ban similar to Vermont and New York. Montgomery County, Charles County and Prince George’s County as well as Friendsville, Maryland have effectively banned the practice. It is incumbent that Frederick County and the Town of Myersville join our neighbors banning fracking in Maryland.
— Ted Cady is the secretary for Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community Inc.