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Fracking is nifty!

Statement made at a Public Hearing on a Proposal to Amend DC Watershed Zoning Ordinance to Excluding Fracking and Associated Infrastructure in the Deep Creek Watershed on July 12 at Garrett College. Dear Commissioners, I’m reading from a prepared statement, since, these days, my memory sometimes fails me. As one of the original signers of the petition I was asked to make a brief statement. I am a retired engineer/scientist having worked for nearly 30 years on all kinds of engineering R&D projects, mostly for the Defense Department. I can’t tell you too much about it. I first learned about Hydraulic Fracturing 3, 4 years ago, and thought it was a very nifty technology. But some people told me that there were serious problems with it. I did my usual. I inform myself using Google. What a tool to use to become informed. What I learned googling I put on a website called Over 1,000 links on the site referring to and summarizing news articles, technical reports, peer-reviewed technical articles, PowerPoint presentations, etc, both pro and con. I have almost another 1,000 links to put in, but haven’t had the time. I still think hydraulic fracturing it is a nifty technology, but the times have shown that implementing it in a healthy and safe manner is very, very difficult, expensive, if not impossible. So, why risk it? I have a lot invested in Garrett County. My investments depend on the healthy recreational opportunities that the County offers. That was one of the reasons why my wife and I settled here full-time in 2000. I have read a lot about unconventional gas development, mostly adverse, from experiences the people have had in other states. Economic benefits to a local area, often the prime driver for allowing fracking to start with, are mostly marginal (the State takes most of the fees) and only a one-time occurrence (it’s gone when it’s gone). In my opinion, one small accident with fracking in Garrett County will severely damage the visitor industry, reducing tax revenues to the County in the process. Property rights is also an issue often brought up to defend fracking, but it should be noted, but often forgotten, that I also have property rights. I have a right to clean air and clean water. Air flows freely above ground, water flows freely underground, both knowing no personal property boundaries. I strongly urge you, and our State representatives, to read more recent literature and not to rely on old ideas and perceptions. It’s a general fact that with time comes experience, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Just remember the ‘tobacco smoking’ issue. I’m against any kind of fracking in the DC watershed, but even more so, I want to see it banned from all of Garrett County. The benefits, if any, are so marginal for the County in the long run, and only slightly better for those that have land with mineral rights. Let’s keep the County healthy for future generations, for residents and visitors to enjoy. Health for your constituency should be on the top of your list of priorities, not the financial benefits of a few.

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