Daily Archives: February 17, 2011

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Maryland Lawmakers Warned of Natural Gas Drilling Risks

Gas Well
Hydrofracking, courtesy of geology.com

Last week I wrote something about the potential risks of Marcellus shale gas drilling and hydrofracking and how this is very possibly something that will affect water quality and therefore brook trout. I just read an article in the Baltimore Sun about the former head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and his take gas drilling. In a meeting with Maryland lawmakers, his advice is to be careful (emphasis below is from me):

“If you have time to do additional studies up front, I would recommend it,” said Quigley, now a senior fellow with a Pennsylvania environmental group. The former manager of Pennsylvania’s state forests said his state has experienced major problems with contamination of drinking water wells, mainly from improperly drilled gas wells.

In one instance, Quigley said, a poorly drilled well caused natural gas to seep a mile underground and bubble up in the middle of the Susquehanna River. There also have been spills of diesel fuel and of the fluid used in fracking, he said.

While much of the fluid remains underground, some is pumped back out and must be treated because it is very salty and contains minerals and other contaminants from the shale, including radioactive substances.

This is exactly the kind of stuff people should be worried about. I’m all for gas drilling if it is always done safely, but many of these drilling operations have a mixed record so far.