For some time MDN has poked fun at Maryland as being dead last in the race to begin shale gas drilling (behind even New York). We do love Maryland. Once upon a time MDN editor Jim Willis worked in Washington, D.C. for a congresswoman from Maryland. It’s a beautiful state, dominated by water—notably the Chesapeake Bay and of course the Atlantic Ocean. So it stands to reason Marylanders would be sensitive to oil and gas drilling or any kind of activity they perceive might harm their most abundant natural resource—water. (Water is not threatened by drilling—but we understand the natural concerns of Maryland residents.)
Until now, MDN has said there are only two counties in Maryland where any kind of fracking would conceivably happen: Allegany and Garrett. Those two counties, located at the far interior of Maryland and as far from the Chesapeake Bay and coast as you can get in Maryland, have abundant Marcellus Shale beneath them. But an “assessment” recently published by the U.S. Geological Survey of shale basins along the East Coast has changed all that. There are several other shale basins, notably the Taylorsville and Delmarva basins, where there is likely recoverable shale gas in quantity (see a copy of USGS assessment embedded below).