BALTIMORE, MD (April 12, 2011) – Today Maryland Department of the Environment Acting Secretary Robert M. Summers testified before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about Maryland’s experience and concerns with hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The following are excerpts from Acting Secretary Summers’ prepared testimony (read in full here):
“We are mindful of the tremendous benefits that could accrue to the environment and the economy by exploring and exploiting our gas reserves, but we are equally alert to the risks of adverse public health and environmental effects. Our paramount concern is protecting our ground and surface waters.
“Having observed events in Pennsylvania during the first few years of Marcellus Shale drilling there, Governor O’Malley, the Department of the Environment, and the Department of Natural Resources are determined to ensure that drilling will not start in Maryland until we know whether, and how, it can be done safely. We are proceeding cautiously and deliberately and do not intend to allow drilling and fracking in the Marcellus Shale until the issues are resolved to our satisfaction.
“We need the federal government to take a more active role in studying and regulating activities such as deep drilling, horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and waste disposal.
“We commend Congress for directing the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct research to examine the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources.
“We are also encouraged by President Obama’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” which he announced on March 30.
“The states need the federal government to lead and to lend its resources to the effort and we need a strong state-federal partnership.”