Democrats on the House Environmental Matters Committee voted to ban drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation in western Maryland until state agencies conduct a study on "how drilling affects health and the environment". In other words, with the wolves guarding the drilling house, there will be no drilling in western Maryland; there will be no local jobs creates; there will be no reprieve from rising gas and electricity prices.
Earlier today, the HEM Committee tabled an amendment by Delegate Wendell Beitzel (R-Garrett) that would have required the onerous drilling regulations to be approved by a legislative panel. It would have also forced the Maryland Department of the Environment to issue drilling permits immediately. The underlying bill (H.B.852) is being sponsored by Democratic Dels. Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County and Marvin E. Holmes Jr. of Prince George's. How ironic that it is the DC urban area politicians who are limiting drilling in the rural areas of western Maryland, even though the drilling is supported by the local representatives.
It is quite obvious that the proposal of environmental impact studies are simply means to scuttle the shale fracking altogether. Samson Resources and Chief Oil & Gas, a Dallas-based gas company, have signed leases to drill in western Maryland in 2009. The Department of the Environment has already been "studying" the environmental impact since then. North Dakota has welcomed the shale fracking industry into the state and is now enjoying a 3.9% unemployment rate. I guess Maryland will just continue to rely on government jobs to fill its employment roles.
It is reflective of a perverse dichotomy that Governor O'Malley is banning job-creating consumer-friendly shale drilling even as he advocates that Marylanders underwrite the inefficacious wind projects of his political allies.
Call your state legislators in Annapolis and demand that they stop chasing jobs out of Maryland and fleecing energy consumers!
1-800-492-7122Tell your state reps to oppose HB 852 and your Senator to oppose SB 634