Maryland Shale Commission Wants More Time for Study

The Laurel & Hardy Maryland Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission wants more time to complete a study to determine whether or not it’s safe to do hydraulic fracturing in the pristine state of Maryland. Anyone surprised?

The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission is asking for more time to complete a best practices study that would examine technical issues of drilling, environmental impacts and infrastructure needs.

Commission chairman David Vanko said Wednesday that the group is asking the governor to extend the timeline for the study, which was originally due to Gov. Martin O’Malley and the legislature in August.

Vanko, who is a geologist and dean of Towson University’s college of science and mathematics, believes the scope of the study is just too broad to finish the work on time. A final report could be complete by December, he said.

"We feel that we’d rather do the report right and do it correctly rather than short change ourselves and get it out for this very short deadline," Vanko said.

His group is tasked with determining whether and how natural gas should be extracted from the Marcellus Shale, a swath of sedimentary rock stretching through the Appalachian basin, a practice that some say it has contaminated water sources in other states.*

Hey, what’s another six months anyway? Those smart Maryland researchers have a lot on their plates determining whether or not several hundred thousand fracked wells over the past 40 years across the U.S. are really safe or not. Maybe they can talk to the crack researchers in New York for guidance (now four years into studying it themselves).

*The Charleston Gazette/AP (Apr 25, 2012) – Marcellus commission seeks extension on Md. drilling study