Appalachian Basin

Poll Commissioned by Anti-Fracking Group Once Again Pushes Misinformation to Marylanders

A new poll released by OpinionWorks and commissioned by anti-fracking groups within the Don’t Frack Maryland coalition, claims that 56 percent of Maryland residents approve a ban on fracking in the state.  The group released an almost identical poll in March 2015 – and just as in the first poll, this one also asks questions that are full of misinformation and clearly designed to get the answers they want. Here’s the key question:

“After more than six years of study, the New York Health Department declared in 2014 that “fracking” for natural gas posed too many human and environmental health risks to be done safely, so the governor banned the practice of fracking in the state. In Maryland, no fracking yet occurs, but studies have found that fracking here would pose similar risks. Knowing this, do you support or oppose a ban on fracking in Maryland?”

This could not be more misleading.  To start, New York’s decision to place a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing was a political statement  based on “studies” funded, written, peer reviewed, and pushed out by activists who have publicly acknowledged their biases toward the process.  Energy In Depth has written about extensively and testified before the House Science Committee on the topic.

But even if that weren’t the case with New York’s ban, the next portion of the question is simply wrong considering in 2014 Maryland’s own Departments of the Environment (MDE) and Natural Resources (DNR)  concluded its three year  study and found,

“It is the judgment of the Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources that provided all the recommended best practices are followed and the State is able to rigorously monitor and enforce compliance, the risks of Marcellus Shale development can be managed to an acceptable level.”

And the studies that have been used to support a ban have some very noticeable flaws. For instance, the 2014 report from the Maryland School of Public Health failed to evaluate any new data or conduct its own air and water sampling, instead relying on studies that are in contrast with air monitoring conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and others.

Further, as part of Maryland’s current moratorium, MDE has been tasked with developing new regulations that are being called the “most stringent and protective” regulations in the country. From The Washington Post in September when the regulations were unveiled,

“Geologist David Vanko, who is dean of Towson University’s Fisher College of Science and Mathematics and spent four years leading an O’Malley-appointed fracking commission, said the newly proposed regulations are “some of strictest, if not the strictest” in the nation.

“The important thing is that Maryland is starting out with well-thought-out regulations, whereas some neighboring states began with inadequate regulations and have been backpedaling ever since,” he said.” (emphasis added)

EID has also developed a video highlighting how many of the myths surrounding fracking in Maryland have been debunked by President Obama and other prominent Democrats:

As a report  from researchers at Towson University found, fracking would bring thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue.  Considering how many benefits could come from shale development, Marylanders deserve to have the facts.

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