New Maryland Bill Would Ban Imports of Fracking Wastewater

With the support of anti-drilling group Food & Water Watch, Maryland House of Delegates member Shane Robinson (representing the DC suburb of Montgomery County) has introduced a bill into the Maryland legislature that would ban importing fracking wastewater for treatment in the state.

House Bill 296, sponsored by Delegate Shane Robinson, only bans importing wastewater for treatment or storage from other states.

The bill does not address fracking water that could be created in Maryland, although there is currently no hydraulic fracturing taking place in the Free State.

“A person may not ship or transport into the state, or store, treat discharge or dispose of in the state, flow back or other wastewater resulting from hydraulic fracturing activities occurring in another state,” the bill reads, in part.

“The Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater Prohibition Act is a great first step toward protecting Maryland residents from the dangers of fracking,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It is almost impossible to know what chemicals are being used in the fracking process, and if these chemicals have been treated properly before being discharged into watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay,” Hauter said.

“My primary concern is the safety of Maryland’s citizens,” said Robinson. “Maryland treatment plants lack the capability to safely treat this toxic wastewater, so there is no good reason why it should be transported through our state, endangering our people as a result.”*

Often, regulations like this one are introduced under the guise of being “reasonable measures” to protect the health of citizens. But in reality, the health of citizens is not their true aim. The real goal? A total ban of onshore oil and gas drilling altogether. Every now and again that truth slips out in an unguarded comment, like the following:

“Every day, we hear new and alarming stories about just how dangerous fracking has become. Maryland citizens should not take that risk,” said Hauter. “The state should call for a ban on fracking altogether.”*

Actually Ms. Hauter, Maryland may well do just that. They are dead last in the pecking order of where Marcellus drilling is likely to occur, and it seems increasingly likely the state will ban fracking if the noise coming from their politicians is any indication.

*Cumberland (MD) Times-News (Jan 30, 2012) – Bill would ban wastewater created by hydraulic fracturing process