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

  • Anonymous

    It’s always troubling to me when I read these stories (and I lived in Montgomery County for 27 years and have a gas lease in NE PA). Because they cook with gas, have heating/AC in their homes, drive hours each week to and from work in pretty horrible traffic. It’s not citizen’s “fault” per-se, our country has been set up this way, but the state and it’s citizens will be using the gas coming out of hydrofracturing wells and grateful they have it. Now living in California it is interesting that the NIMBY syndrome is active here too. People don’t want solar farms or wind farms where they can see them. Los Angeles only started recycling pick up at residents home in the last 10 years, while other parts of the country were well into a good program of curbside pickup.  The hard line environmentalists who are anti- fossil fuel energy use would be better served to be a part of the conversation to make sure that it’s done safely vs. not done at all. While always working on ways to improve using less. 

    I saw a lecture series at the University of Maryland on Energy. A speaker talked about technology being viewed as the solution. He gave the history of the refrigerator as an example of technology solving the problem, bringing it to more energy efficiency, less polluting, and lower cost to the consumer. Then the consumer bought two. One for the house and one for the garage. We all have our part to do is my point. From the government to the corporations to the lowly truck driver subcontractor to the citizen consumer. It seems that the solutions are so extreme and unrealistic which perpetuates a US and THEM skirmish that is continually counter productive.

  • Good thoughts. Thanks for commenting.

  • wacoyaco

    habubrat, you hit the nail on the head,most of the anti’s screaming the loudest have no stake in this game. They yell because it is change,its uncomfortable change,from their one sided way of thinking. They are led by words and emotion, not fact, when you here those false rantings over and over again, it sinks into their core thinking and becomes their truth.Just like all this Republican campaigning nonsense rhetoric. Attack the issue with lies as much as possible and see what sticks.States like Maryland and their like, should not be sold any NG coming from these producing wells by their neighbors, watch how fast their tune would change when PA, WV, OH heating and cooling bills using NG are cut in  half ,then all those oil burners produce. Sanction the Anti’s, let them pay $3.75 per gallon from OPEC  for oil. Then you will really here some yelling.Make sure that pipeline circumvents Maryland, send it this way !!I’ll buy some.

  • Jim I am Pro Gas and a democrat,but your weekly poll is so a typical republican way of asking a question.. I chose genuine/now in favor because nothing else fit including my choice  … You should have left out the” now in favor”.. I can go back 2 to 3 yrs where Obama mentioned nat gas at least 3 times and the fact that he was in favor of using more of it… He never once said he was against fracing… Enough of the slight of hand questions..Make it a simple yes or no and bring a little respect back to your corner  …

  • Thanks for your comment. I do try to be even-handed, although sometimes I tilt to the right, 😉 My point is that actions are not matching words for Mr. Obama. But, I hear you, and I do always listen/read the comments and am not beyond changing my ways when well-reasoned, courteous advice is offered. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

  • Anonymous

    Dave, Obama speeches always leaves an out clause , He says he is for NG with many words but puts a ” as long as its safe” sentence at the end, leaving a wide open door for interpretation . This enables him to have his henchmen at the EPA  try and prove fracking it is not safe in some way ,shape or form.That’s his out. If he was dedicated to that purpose then he should propose a bill for drastic change overs for Coal plants,New home construction, big Auto to convert ( its pretty easy to convert a vehicle over to NG), and existing home to convert within 3-5 years. Then we will see some job movement. But he is just hot air trying to win everyone and anyone’s vote with empty words. I see he has you, I guess that hopey, Changey speech he gave 3 1/2 yrs ago worked for you. I didn’t buy it and still feel the effects of his administration. Action speak the loudest, I’m still waiting.