What the Frack is Going On?

Ellis Childers, Staff Writer

Some might have no idea what this word “fracking” even is, even though it has been talked about in the news a lot. “Fracking” is short for hydraulic fracturing, which is a new technique for extracting natural gas from underground. The debate about whether to allow fracking in Maryland has been underway for awhile now. Some experts say that fracking is extremely dangerous to the environment and causes contamination of necessary ground water, while others think the process is safe and effective while providing a strong economic boost to areas in which fracking is performed. With the discovery of natural gas in Maryland, it begs the question: Where do we stand on the issue?

So far,  Governor Martin O’Malley agreed to the testing of hydraulic fracturing with restrictions to ensure public health and environmental safeguards.  Governor O’Malley definitely made sure that the contamination of water and the pollution of air would not occur during the process to get the natural gas. The rules will still be in effect when Governor Larry Hogan takes office.

This issue has been studied for three years by O’Malley and his staff, and experts are still studying potential risks and rewards for the technique. Some of the rules created by O’Malley will protect residents from noise or any other disruptions associated with the drilling. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has suggested stiff financial penalties for any toxic spills and a tax on gas extracted for any affected communities. It seems Maryland has set a very high bar to protect its public and natural resources.


Even with these promises in place, many are still worried that the idea of fracking is not safe yet and some are still a little iffy on whether or not O’Malley’s rules will prove them wrong.  Should Maryland allow hydraulic fracturing?