Maryland Legislature Will Consider Whether or Not to Approve Hydraulic Fracturing

Looks like we have dueling pieces of legislation before the Maryland legislature, one bill that would force the state’s Department of the Environment to either officially approve or deny permits by Samson Energy to drill in Western Maryland. The other bill would put a hold on drilling until “further studies” can determine whether or not it’s safe.

A bill that would effectively impose a hold on natural gas drilling in Western Maryland until further studies are completed will be introduced Thursday in the House of Delegates.

It follows an opposing bill filed Friday that aims to force the Maryland Department of the Environment to approve or deny permits for a type of natural gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in Garrett County.

Four applications for fracking permits were filed in October 2009 by Samson Energy, which is now concentrating on one potential drill site in Garrett County. Those were the first permits for natural gas hydraulic fracturing ever filed in the state.*

*Gaithersburg Patch (Feb 9) – Natural Gas Extraction Debate Heats Up at the State House