On the 27th of June, the MD Maryland Department of the Environment held one of three public hearings on Governor Hogan’s proposal to regulate but permit gas fracking in MD beginning in 2017 when a moratorium expires. After a “Don’t Frack MD” protest outside a roomful of people opposed to fracking in MD said one after another that only a complete ban would be acceptable.
There were speakers from Dimmock, PA where well water has been contaminated with uranium and from counties in MD that could face the same as soon as next year. There were also speakers from Calvert County, MD, where much of this gas would pass through Dominion’s export faciltiy at Cove Point. Nowhere to be found was the usual two hours of industry shills that participants in these hearings usually have to set through before being permitted to speak,
Instead of the hours of industry speakers, the first four speakers were from the government itself, talking about how their proposed regulations were supposed to make fracking safe. They did not impress the crowd at all and drew guffaws on occasion. Many in attendance have seen before how regulations are ignored or based on bad science, then when people’s land and water are poisoned the gas bosses tell their victims to either sign a gag agreement or pay for replacement water and medical treatment themselves. Some sign the orders, some refuse regardless of the financial ruin of an uninhabitable and unsaleable property. In one notorious case gas drillers demanded a gag order binding on the homeowner’s young children-for life. Lawyers say that is unenforceable but the kids would have to risk a lawsuit to find out after turning 18. Enough people have refused that word is getting out and municipalites are banning fracking all over the US and momentum is building for statewide bans in state after state.
The first speaker after the MDE officials was MD state Sen. Robert A. Zirkin promising to introduce a bill to ban fracking outright in MD, to the overwhelming cheers of the crowd. New York State has already banned fracking, though in that case the damage has already been done. What those whose lives are threatened by fracking in MD are hoping is that politicians who accept the “gag money” offered by the fracking industry are outvoted by those who (like some who speak publicly about the cancers fracking gave them) refuse the gas barons’ dirty money.
And now a personal note to gas and fracking lawyers: gag THIS, motherfuckers!