BALTIMORE, MD (November 25, 2014) – Reflecting extensive consultation with scientists, public health professionals, economists, industry experts, environmental and community advocates, and the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, today the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources presented a draft Final Report on Marcellus Shale drilling. The three-year-long study recommends that Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling be permitted provided that stringent comprehensive best practices are followed.
The draft Final Report – required by Governor Martin O’Malley’s Executive Order establishing the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative – concludes that the risks of Marcellus shale development can be managed to an acceptable level, similar to other industrial activities, provided that the State rigorously inspects sites and enforces compliance with applicable regulations and stands prepared to adjust policies and regulations as needed in the future. The report recommends best management practices that, taken as a whole, are at least as stringent, if not more stringent, than those required anywhere else in the nation.
“After three years of exhaustive study, we’ve compiled what many believe to be the gold standard for best management practices in the country,” said Governor O’Malley. “We’re committed to ensuring that Marylanders have access to the economic opportunities associated with fracking while also putting the most complete practices into place to ensure the highest level of protection for Maryland residents.”
“This report strikes the right balance, ensuring that Allegany and Garrett counties realize the economic benefits of fracking without sacrificing public health, the environment or the vibrant tourist economy of Western Maryland,” said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. “With these highly protective standards, and working with local governments to maximize investment opportunities and review Comprehensive Gas Development Plans, Maryland is better positioned to manage this new frontier in energy development.”