Advocates, Critics of Fracking Turn Out for Hearing on Bills - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Advocates, Critics of Fracking Turn Out for Hearing on Bills

Posted:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Fracking opponents came out in force Tuesday to speak their minds at a Senate hearing on legislation that would limit natural gas drilling in Maryland.

After more than five hours of testimony on unrelated legislation, by 6:30 p.m. the Senate committee had only just begun hearing testimony on the two drilling bills_one that would place an eight-year moratorium on fracking and another to prohibit the practice.

Elliott Perfetti, operations manager of Blue Moon Rising, an "eco-friendly vacation village" in Garrett County, said his concern with fracking is that it "threatens the foundations that our economy and our community are built on."

"It is not compatible with what our unique socio-economic landscape is," said the 30-year-old, who was born and raised in Garrett County. "We're not Pennsylvania, we're not West Virginia. We are different than those places. Tourism is our business, it is the brand of Garrett County whether people want it to be that or not."

Fracking is a drilling method by which highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals are pumped into the ground, shaking loose rocks and releasing gas. In 2011, former Gov. Martin O'Malley charged an advisory commission with studying the potential for fracking in Maryland's western Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties.

Currently Maryland does not have any fracking, but a portion of the western side of the state sits atop the Marcellus Shale deposit, which runs underground from New York to Tennessee. West Virginia and Pennsylvania allow fracking, while New York recently banned the practice due to health concerns.

At least two members have spoken out against the commission's nearly four years of work, criticizing the lack of attention to potential risks to public health.

Katharine Dubansky, owner of the 106-acre organic Backbone Food Farm in Garrett County, said she worries about the health of her children and her livestock should fracking come to her back yard.

"I would like to remain on my farm and have it be viable," said Dubansky, 42. "I feel like if fracking comes to our neighborhood ... we will no longer be able to stay there because it would be very unhealthy. I don't feel like I'd have the integrity to be able to feel good about my product that I was selling."

But William Valentine, president of the Alleghany County Commissioners, and member of the governor's advisory commission, defended the group's work and sought to ally health concerns.

Valentine said the regulations proposed by the commission would already limit fracking to about 10 percent of the state.

"Our commission was run by the Maryland Department of the Environment and DNR," Valentine said. "They really wanted to prove, I think, it could not be done safely. The facts just weren't there to support that."

"Pick up the phone and call the state of Pennsylvania's health department and say 'what have you seen,'" Valentine said. "I've made that call. They have not seen contaminated water; they have not seen any health crisis. Pick up the phone and call West Virginia, pick up the phone and call Ohio. I think Texas has been rather well known for doing this stuff for decades; they haven't been removed from the map."

Del. Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett County, said he supports the drilling for its economic benefits to the area, though he admitted there was "no question we need to regulate the industry."

But opponents' fears and call for additional regulations, he said, are tantamount to putting an invisible sign on the state's border that says "gas companies are not welcome."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:48:06 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:24 GMT
    Econo Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean CityEcono Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean City

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-05-25 23:56:24 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:04 GMT
    Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More
  • Non-Profits Coalition Creating Pilot Program for those Fighting Addiction

    Non-Profits Coalition Creating Pilot Program for those Fighting Addiction

    Thursday, May 25 2017 6:54 PM EDT2017-05-25 22:54:03 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:23 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:23:50 GMT

    The organization B.R.I.D.G.E.S.--Bridging Recovery in Delaware - Gathering Essential Supports--is starting a "Community Navigators" program to help people get involved in the fight against addiction.

    More

    The organization B.R.I.D.G.E.S.--Bridging Recovery in Delaware - Gathering Essential Supports--is starting a "Community Navigators" program to help people get involved in the fight against addiction.

    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Teen Hospitalized After Falling At an Ocean City Hotel

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:48:06 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:24 GMT
    Econo Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean CityEcono Lodge on 145th Street in Ocean City

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More

    Ocean City Police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City Thursday afternoon. 

    More
  • Cruisin' Leaves its Mark on Ocean City

    Cruisin' Leaves its Mark on Ocean City

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:38 PM EDT2017-05-24 22:38:22 GMT
    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:41 AM EDT2017-05-25 11:41:49 GMT

     Cruisin' leaves it's mark on Ocean City. 

    More

    Last weekend's Cruisin' Ocean City event left its mark, in more ways than one. 

    More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-05-25 23:56:24 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 12:24 AM EDT2017-05-26 04:24:04 GMT
    Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.Maurice Pinder was arrested for the posession of drugs and weapons.

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 'Ghost Pots' Hurting Chesapeake Bay's Blue Crab Population

    'Ghost Pots' Hurting Chesapeake Bay's Blue Crab Population

    Crabbing season is well underway, and that means hundreds of thousands of crab pots are in the Chesapeake Bay catching blue crabs.

    Every morning during crabbing season, you can see watermen gathering up their pots, collecting their catch, and putting the pots back in the water. What you cannot see is the problem: pots that have had their lines severed sit on the bay's bottom, sometimes never seen again, along with the crabs inside them.

    More

    Crabbing season is well underway, and that means hundreds of thousands of crab pots are in the Chesapeake Bay catching blue crabs.

    Every morning during crabbing season, you can see watermen gathering up their pots, collecting their catch, and putting the pots back in the water. What you cannot see is the problem: pots that have had their lines severed sit on the bay's bottom, sometimes never seen again, along with the crabs inside them.

    More
  • Updated: Polygraph Tests at Heart of White Marlin Open Trial

    Updated: Polygraph Tests at Heart of White Marlin Open Trial

    Thursday marked day four of the White Marlin Open trial in Baltimore, in which a federal judge has to figure out who will get the millions of dollars in prize money from last year's tournament held in Ocean City.

    More

    Thursday marked day four of the White Marlin Open trial in Baltimore, in which a federal judge has to figure out who will get the millions of dollars in prize money from last year's tournament held in Ocean City.

    More
  • Locals React to Cruisin' Ocean City

    Locals React to Cruisin' Ocean City

    Thousands of cars rumbled into Ocean City for Cruisin' OC but not everyone was thrilled about it.

    For 27 years unique cars have traveled from hundreds of miles away to drive up and down the streets of Ocean City.

    While this event might be a big attraction for people who aren't from Delmarva, not everyone gets revved up for the weekend.Locals said that over the past few years the noise and the smell has gotten to be a little too much.

    More

    Thousands of cars rumbled into Ocean City for Cruisin' OC but not everyone was thrilled about it.

    For 27 years unique cars have traveled from hundreds of miles away to drive up and down the streets of Ocean City.

    While this event might be a big attraction for people who aren't from Delmarva, not everyone gets revved up for the weekend.Locals said that over the past few years the noise and the smell has gotten to be a little too much.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices