I am writing concerning the need to extend the ban on hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits for extraction of gas and oil in Maryland. Our neighbor to the north has had some experience with this process, and it has not been positive. This process contaminates the aquifer with the drilling chemicals and the natural gas itself, rendering the drinking water poisonous to humans, livestock, crops and wildlife. This is not temporary contamination, but forever.
In Pennsylvania, the wastewater from this process has been used on roads to keep the toxic dust down from the extensive truck traffic the drilling operations cause. The water tastes salty, and livestock and wildlife that drink it get sick and sometimes die. When the wastewater is actually trucked to a sewage treatment plant, the plant is usually not equipped to remove these toxins in the wastewater, so they simply end up in the rivers or steams.
Drilling operations cause so much air pollution, that residents living downwind of a fracking operation are driven from their homes because of inhalation of the pollution. Toxins commonly released from these operations include acetone, ammonia, arsenic, barium, bentonite, benzene, bromochloromethane, carbon tetrachloride, chromium, manganese, methane, hydrochloric acid, selenium, toluene, butoxyethanol and xylenes. Crops for human and livestock consumption grown anywhere near drilling operations will absorb these pollutants and pass them into any animal or human that eats them.
The process of hydraulic fracturing has been shown to increase the frequency of earthquakes. The shifting and crack of the earth below may accelerate the transmission of toxic chemicals into the aquifer by rupturing the concrete seals of the well casings. Disposal of the wastewater by injection wells deep below the aquifer will be rendered useless by such earthquakes. The toxic waste will have new cracks to travel back to our drinking water. This situation is one where the state has a responsibility to protect the residents who have not leased their land for drilling from those who have. We need safe drinking water for people and livestock more than we need natural gas for export. I urge you to contact your state senators and Gov. Larry Hogan to ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland forever.
George D. Carroll