(The following letter regarding impending legislation SB 634, "The Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act of 2011" was received for publication in The Appalachian Independent by the author, John N. Bambacus, Frostburg
Dear Chairperson Conway and Members of the Committee:
I am writing in strong support of SB 634, "The Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act of 20ll," sponsored by Senator Frosh, and would request a favorable committee report. Having previously represented Garrett and Allegany Counties in the Senate of Maryland, and serving on this Committee, I have considered carefully the complex human health and environmental protections of this proposal and believe that the safeguards of the people of Western Maryland and those living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are best served by passing this legislative proposal and its House counterpart, HB852, sponsored by Delegate Mizeur.
I would respectfully request that the committee consider amending the bill to include DNR concerns about drilling on leased land, state park or forest land in Garrett, Allegany, or Washington Counties, drilling in the Youghiogheny Wild and Scenic River Corridor, Savage River watershed, City of Frostburg watershed, etc. Other concerns that immediately come to mind involve the whole matter of structuring fees for permitting and inspection to be paid by the
applicant/developer; protection of health, safety and property rights of persons residing in areas where exploration, development, storage or production occurs; mineral rights; leasing of Rural Legacy lands that have easements on them, and monitoring streams and tributaries flowing into the Chesapeake Bay and Western Maryland from nearby Pennsylvania. Costs for monitoring and permitting should be paid for fully by the drilling companies. This is a highly complex issue with many implications. There should also be a provision for a public hearing, and monitoring and permitting should be paid for fully by the drilling companies.
Additionally, there should be a definition for non-vertical drilling/horizontal/diagonal drilling, i.e., a well drilled intentionally to deviate from a vertical axis, that differentiates hydrofracturing from a well with a single vertical well bore.
Thank you for your consideration,
John N. Bambacus