Jay’s note: This is one of the scariest things on the horizon – get involved & let your voice be heard.
Date Published: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may be coming to Maryland’s Garrett and Allegany counties. The two counties, located in the mountainous western region of the state, set atop the gas-rich Marcellus shale.
Drilling in Marcellus shale is done via a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking, which is now used in about 90 percent of US gas and oil wells, involves injecting water, sand, and a cocktail of chemicals at high pressure into rock formations thousands of feet below the surface. Because the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, shale gas drillers don’t have to disclose what chemicals they use. However, it is known that fracking fluids contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene. As we’ve reported extensively, fracking has caused serious water contamination problems in several states.
According to the Maryland Geological Survey, in the past couple of years, Garrett and Allegany counties have seen the arrival of “land men,” an industry term for those who come to an area in advance of the actual drilling of test wells for natural gas. These land men typically contact land owners (and mineral rights owners) to arrange to lease the land on which to drill.
In both Garrett and Allegany, some resident have signed drilling leases, and in December 2009, Samson Resources, a privately owned oil and gas company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma applied for four drilling permits. The firm is seeking to drill three wells in Garrett County and a fourth well in Allegany County. If those wells are successful, Samson Resources will drill several hundred wells on 70,000 acres in the area over the next ten years.