Oct 20: Frack-Free Frostburg Rally before City Council Meeting

Frostburg, MD citizens will rally and attend City Council Meeting to call for a local ban on fracking

Following successful local ban campaigns across the state of Maryland, a citizens' group in Frostburg has called on the City Council to consider an ordinance banning fracking in that Town.  


On Thursday, October 20th jump on the BAN WAGON to show your support for a frack-free Frostburg. Help urge city leaders to ban fracking in the Town of Frostburg. Learn more on the Frack Free Frostburg Facebook page

What: *Frostburg "Get on the Ban Wagon" Rally and City Council Meeting 
When: *Thursday, October 20th. Rally begins at 6:15 p.m. The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.
Where: *The rally will take place at Armstrong Insurance – 21 S. Water St., Frostburg, MD 21532. This is next to the Frostburg Community Center where the City Council meeting will be held.
Who Should be there: Concerned Frostburg residents and Western Marylanders

*Click here to RSVP.

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Take Action this Saturday, Autumn Glory Parade

This Saturday!

Join Us During Garrett County's AUTUMN GLORY PARADE

Saturday October 15: 9:30-12:30 prep time. 1:00 pm Autumn Glory Parade.

Please join Citizen Shale, DontFrackMD.org, and the Water Walk Maryland team as we welcome this year's Grand Marshal, Governor Larry Hogan.
Let’s make it clear to Governor Hogan
that we do not want fracking in Maryland!

Reserve your new Citizen Shale T-shirt or a Don’t Frack Maryland Yard Sign to welcome Grand Marshal Governor Larry Hogan. 

To reserve your limited edition T-SHIRT ($15) or a Don’t Frack Maryland YARD SIGN ($5 suggested donation) contact info@citizenshale.org.

Citizen Shale #DontFrackMD event details:

From 9:30 until parade time, we will be networking and making signs from our parade home base at 124 North 3rd Street, Oakland, 21550 (aka Rte 219, across from State Farm)  Come make a sign to hold on the sidelines.

We will be asking sign-holders to spread out along the route for the best opportunity to get our message to the Governor.

PARKING NOTE: There is no parking at our meet up location.  Please see map for free and paid parking options, or arrive early to secure free on-street parking.

Please encourage your friends and colleagues to come send a strong and peaceful message to Gov. Hogan. Here is a link to our facebook event.  

Autumn Glory is Garrett County's showcase event of the year.  
Don't miss all 4 days of activities celebrating Mountain Maryland's culture and heritage.  

Thank you for participating,


While there is no explicit rule about joining the parade in progress, the parade coordinators have asked us to announce that: 

Due to safety concerns: Security personnel will not allow parade-watchers on Saturday to spontaneously join the procession and become participants.  

If you choose to join the Water Walk, be at their space #90, near Brodak's Plaza before 1pm.  
Wear something BLUE in support of the Water Walkers!


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Follow the Water Walk Maryland

Walking Across Maryland to Support Fracking Ban

Oakland, Md. – Two Garrett County women will launch their “Water Walk Maryland,”  a 313-mile journey on foot across the state intended to highlight public concern about shale gas development, during the 2016 Autumn Glory Parade that Gov. Larry Hogan will officiate.

Kim Alexander, farmer from northern Garrett County, and Aeryn Boyd, artist and urban farmer from Howard County will complete Water Walk Maryland in mid-November at the natural gas export facility being built in Calvert County near Cove Point, where American gas will be shipped out of the country. They hope their trek will call attention to the value of Maryland’s freshwater while promoting the ban on fracking to be introduced in the General Assembly in January.

“I am walking because I fear the serious health risks fracking poses to the water, soil, creatures, and people,” says Kim Alexander, who owns a farm near Friendsville. “This walk is critical to the future of farming because without a fracking ban, it will be impossible to ensure safe, toxin-free food production at a time that small farms are thriving in our county.”

Alexander and Aeryn Boyd will walk the parade dressed in costumes representing fresh spring water and fracking brine to contrast the choice Maryland faces to ban or legalize fracking. “We are excited to celebrate water, singing and dancing behind the Grand Marshal, Gov. Hogan while also highlighting the potential consequence of fracking by carrying contaminated well water from Dimock, PA” said Boyd. “We hope our efforts help voters learn about the statewide Don’t Frack Maryland Coalition, which intends to enact a ban against this technology that, unless stopped, will commit our country to another generation of dependence on finite fossil fuels. ”

After leaving Oakland, the pair will venture north into Allegany County. They plan to be in Frostburg Oct. 16th through the 20th, when an ordinance to ban fracking within town limits is expected to be introduced at the City Council meeting.

Alexander, who is a board member of Citizen Shale, the community group engaged in anti-fracking efforts since the issue first developed in 2011, noted that Frostburg would become the third western municipality — along with Friendsville and Mountain Lake Park — to put in place a prohibition on gas development. Prince George’s and Montgomery counties have already instituted bans, and Charles County is expected to follow suit this fall. Several other counties and towns are taking up resolutions.

From Frostburg, Alexander and Boyd will hike the Great Allegheny Passage to Cumberland, and then continue east on the former C&O Canal on their way toward Washington, D.C.. But before arriving in Washington, Water Walk Maryland will make a stop in Myersville on Halloween weekend to light Jack-O-Lantern vigils. Myersville is a rural community where residents challenged but lost their fight against the building of a huge natural gas compressor station that town residents say spews harmful pollutants that they have to breathe. Despite zoning intended to prevent the station’s construction and a lengthy court battle, Cove Point owner Dominion Resources completed the facility in 2014.

“Fracking is broader than just the proposed wells in western Maryland,” explains Alexander “it also includes gas related infrastructure to move, process, compress, burn, liquify and export the gas, all of which pose negative environmental and health impacts.”

The women are planning a solution based permaculture event in Sandy Spring with Sherwood High School and passing through Washington on Election Day, before heading to Brandywine, Md., where a cluster of three natural gas-powered electricity generating stations are being proposed in the area, in addition to the other two already built. From there, they will head towards Lusby in southern Maryland, where Dominion is completing its liquefied natural gas refinery and export facility in a residential neighborhood of 20,000 people.   

“This water walk is an opportunity for all of us to become informed active stewards of our community and Mother Earth,” says Boyd. “We need to understand what the current relationships are between individual communities, big business, the environment, and our government. Together, we can unite around the need for a transition to sustainable energy technologies and healthy land practices.”

Water Walk Maryland may be followed via the duo’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WaterWalkMD/ , with many events still be planned along the way. The general schedule is: Oct. 15: Oakland; Oct. 16-20: Frostburg/Cumberland; Oct. 29-31: Frederick/Myersville; Nov. 5: Sandy Spring; Nov. 8: Washington D.C.; Nov. 12: Brandywine; Nov. 16: Cove Point.  

To contact Water Walkers: 

Phone/text: 301. 523. 7306

Email: earthrootflower@gmail.com

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Property Rights -pipelines vs cemetaries

Here is a letter to Surface Land Owners regarding Rights of Way (ROW.) Apparently it is more difficult to reach a family cemetary than it is to install and maintain pipelines on private property.

In Maryland surface owner protections in relation to gas development (aka fracking) are not clearly articulated in law.  Eminemt Domain may transcend any attempt to protect lands leased by the surface or by a separate mineral owner, as well as by utilities connecting to the gas infrastructure.

My wife and I own property where two other property owners have a deeded ROW/easement across our property. Anyone could use this ROW, even unauthorized people, if we did not control it by having a locked gate and/or periodically checking people who use it. We can install gates on the ROW for control of our goats and horses, i.e., where they graze. Right now there are 3 gates through which the ROW users must go through and promptly close. So the deeded ROW does not prevent us from using the property as we see fit.

The video from the BBC details what visitors to family cemeteries where mountain top removal has taken place must typically do in West Virginia. Visitors have to “jump through several hoops” to visit such cemeteries. They have to schedule the visit in advance, wait for an escort, and undergo “hazard training”.

I visited several fracking sites two years ago where energy companies had uncontrolled access to well pads, across surface land they did not own. At that time, I questioned how such companies could do this without any input or control by the surface property owner. I understand the reality that many state’s laws give mining and energy companies the right to do almost anything they think they need to do in order to mine the coal or recover the gas/oil they are after. But do those same state laws mean that surface owners have no legal rights”? I don’t think so as this would surely be seen as a violation of their Constitutional rights.

I’m not an attorney, but it seems to me that surface owners would still retain certain legal rights over the access and use of their property for ROWs or activities like mining. If I were a surface owner and companies were driving across my land, I think I would try to manage or control what was happening. I realize that I could not legally prohibit a mineral owner from gaining access to my property, but surely I would retain the right to ensure that anyone entering the property had the legal right to do so.

Without this right, unauthorized parties could “openly and notoriously” enter my property and potentially claim it under adverse possession. Pollution and/or damage might occur to my land. Without knowing exactly who might have caused it, it would be difficult to recover damages from the responsible party. My land might be posted for hunting and fishing and this cannot be controlled if unauthorized people have access. This would require knowing who the authorized people and companies were. I would also notify the company of any insurance requirements that might affect their access or operations. We are all familiar with signs that say something like “Our insurance prohibits customers from entering the shop”. As landowners, we have similar rights.

I think that if I were a property owner and had mining/oil/gas/pipeline construction traffic across or through my property I would try doing the following:
1.            Notify the mining owner/ROW user that effective on such-and-such date I would be installing an access gate to the road. The purpose of the gate would be to ensure unauthorized personnel were not trespassing on or using my property.
2.            Ask the mineral owner/ROW user to provide me with the names of companies, personnel, and vehicles (by vehicle make/model and license plate number) who are authorized to have access to the land and let them know that access to people or companies not listed would be denied.
3.            Ask the mineral owner/ROW user to notify authorized personnel that the land is posted and hunting and fishing are prohibited. Firearms are not permitted to be carried on the property.
4.            The gate would be in the closed position when attended and personnel desiring access must stop and check in with the attendant, who would open the gate after ensuring the person was authorized. Vehicles will be required to stop upon both entering and leaving.
5.            When the gate is unattended, persons/vehicles wishing access would not be required to stop, but a camera (like a game camera) could record the license plate number of each vehicle and the time/date.
6.            Notify the mineral owner/ROW user that smoking on the property is prohibited due to the increased fire hazard and litter associated with cigarette butts. The mineral owner/ROW user should advise all authorized personnel of this restriction. Littering is also prohibited. Violators will be issued a fine and/or denied access.
7.            Notify the mineral owner/ROW user they are responsible for contamination resulting from their use of the ROW
8.            Post speed limits on unpaved access roads to limit the amount of dust generated.
9.            Notify the mineral owner/ROW user that livestock (goats, cattle, horses, etc.) may be grazing in certain areas and that gates controlling livestock access, if closed, must be promptly re-closed to prevent livestock from straying.

Mining companies have the “hazard training requirements. Surface owners have a similar “rules” requirement, whereby people authorized by the mineral owner/ROW user to have access would be required to read a “rulebook” and sign a form acknowledging they have read the book and will comply with the requirements? They could even be issued a card, just like the coal companies do for the hazard training. Of course, authorized personnel would need to show their card each time. Perhaps they could be required to schedule visits in advance, just like the mountaintop removal coal companies do for people visiting grave sites?

I would expect the mineral owner(s)/ROW users to legally try to prevent me from doing this. With proper backing/support, such legal actions should be welcomed as they could be used to generate lots of negative public opinion of the mining/oil/gas company/ROW user, and might help establish a legal precedent that would help protect other property owners’ rights.

George Neall, Retired Engineer/P.E.

Watch the video at this site:

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Maryland Releases Draft Fracking Regulations

Reckless Fracking Rules Released by the Hogan Administration Underscore the Need for a Legislative Ban

More than 100 business, health, community, environmental and climate groups are urging the 2017 Maryland General Assembly to pass a permanent ban on fracking

Dont Frack Maryland Coalition, Baltimore, Md. — Despite overwhelming public opposition voiced at hearings this summer, Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration today released final draft regulations for fracking that would allow dangerous drilling in Maryland starting in October 2017. In response, Maryland business owners, health experts, and environmental leaders are urging the General Assembly to pass a permanent ban on fracking in the 2017 legislative session.

The Hogan administration’s rules would roll back already insufficient regulations proposed under the O’Malley administration. These rules ignore mounting evidence that fracking cannot be done without causing polluted air and water and serious harm to people’s health. Since New York State banned fracking in 2014, citing public health risks, studies have linked fracking to increases in asthma attacks, migraines, sinus infections, fatigue and preterm births. No regulatory framework has been shown to prevent significant harm.

Members and supporters of the Don’t Frack Maryland coalition released the following statements in response:

“This whole process is a sham–fracking is inherently dangerous and there’s no evidence that fracking can be made safe with regulations. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies show that fracking is hazardous to human health, the environment, and our climate. This is why communities across Maryland, from Garrett County to Frederick to the Eastern Shore, are demanding a permanent ban on fracking, and they’ll be holding their elected leaders accountable. The General Assembly should listen to the science, and their constituents, and ban fracking once and for all.” – Thomas Meyer, senior Maryland organizer with Food & Water Watch

“Most visitors who consider purchasing property at beautiful, peaceful Deep Creek Lake are frankly shocked that such a thing would even be considered here. For those already part of the community, concern about the effects of fracking has definitely hurt property values. Many other owners will consider liquidating their assets if fracking is allowed. We do not believe the proposed regulations offer protection, and support a ban.” — Tim and Michelle Josephs, Garrett County Realtors

“The Hogan Administration should be listening to our pleas to heed the growing body of scientific evidence against fracking. Instead, MDE has released regulations that weaken protections already proposed. Citizen Shale has no confidence in the state's ability to regulate this hazardous activity, nor in its commitment to monitor and enforce those regulations. We urge the General Assembly to save our communities from the Hogan administration’s plans for a misguided experiment, and to ban fracking.” — Nadine Grabania, board secretary, Citizen Shale

“People come here looking for authentic experiences, whether to explore our natural beauty, take part in outdoor adventures, or discover family farms in a fast-growing agri-tourism market. All require clean water and a safe, rural environment. Yet, with the proposed regulations, state government appears determined to let private property rights overpower its responsibility to insist on safeguards. People will no longer choose to vacation here if ‘paradise’ becomes ‘Gasland.’ Fracking must not be allowed.” — Crede and Carol Calhoun, owners, All-Earth Eco Tours, Friendsville, Md.

"Governor Hogan has ignored the clear evidence, which shows banning fracking is the only safe regulation. Rather than debate how much air pollution is 'acceptable' for our kids' lungs or how many toxins are 'safe' for our water, we should be focused on creating jobs through clean energy. Before any harm is done, the General Assembly must act and pass a permanent ban on fracking." – James McGarry, Maryland policy director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network

“Coal mining in Western Maryland has left a legacy of acid drainage from abandoned mines. The state has spent millions on a patchwork of fixes to mitigate acid drainage that kills local streams. Fracking well casings will fail. There is no ‘fix’ once an aquifer is contaminated. The only way to safeguard our waterways and drinking water supplies is to not allow fracking to start in Maryland. No amount of regulations will be sufficient.” –  Robin Broder of Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Garrett County landowner

More than 100 organizations have endorsed the Don’t Frack Maryland campaign and are calling for a ban on fracking in Maryland. In recent months, the town council of Friendsville in Garrett County and Prince George’s County Council passed local ordinances banning fracking, joining the town of Mountain Lake Park and Montgomery County.


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August 30 Public Meeting with House Environment and Transportation Committee

Legislative Committee will visit Garrett County to gather Western Maryland views on Fracking 

Western Maryland citizens have a rare opportunity to host the House Environment and Transportation Committee.  During the 2017 legislative session, this committee will be making the first decision on a bill to ban fracking in Maryland.

The committee will visit Garrett County on Aug 30-31.  They are on a fact-finding mission to see first-hand the area that will be impacted first and most by fracking, should they allow it in our state. Committee members are anxious to understand residents' expectations and concerns.  This will be our only chance to talk face to face with legislators here in western Maryland!

Panel discussions and meetings scheduled throughout the day on August 30 are open to the public to observe.  The evening meeting at Garrett College is our opportunity to comment.

Public Meeting: 6:30 pm Garrett College Auditorium, 687 Mosser Road, McHenry
Be prepared to tell the committee your concerns (2 minute time limit)

House Environment and Transportation Committee Visit to Western Maryland.  See full schedule at this link

BUT WAIT, There's more!

Bring your friends and family to an informal gathering before the 6:30 meeting.

Food Not Fracking Tailgate Picnic**
August 30, 5:30 pm 
Parking lots and lawns outside the Garrett College Auditorium

CELEBRATE our foods, farms and families!
Bring a picnic and bring signs that show what a healthy, vibrant community western Maryland is ALREADY.

We don't need fracking.  We can't afford fracking.
Our healthy families want to stay that way!

Visit the Facebook event page to RSVP.

**this is a healthy, family-friendly event.  Please no smoking, no alcohol.

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Fracking Linked to Increased Asthma

Johns Hopkins has released a report that links asthma and fracking.  Asthma sufferers near drilling sites are four times more likely to suffer attacks than those living farther away.

Full coverage at the Baltimore Sun

From the article:

[Sara G.] Rasmussen [a study leader and doctoral candidate in the department of environmental health sciences at Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health] and other investigators agree that more study is needed to determine the cause of the negative health outcomes. Other research has connected proximity to the wells to pre-term births and lower birth weights, respiratory and skin irritation, and increased hospitalizations in neurology, oncology and urology.

The Hopkins study looked at the health records of 35,000 asthma patients in the Geisinger Health System and found there were more mild attacks requiring inhalers, more moderate attacks requiring an emergency room visit and more severe attacks requiring hospitalization.



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Comment to MDE due Monday July 18

Maryland Department of Environment invites comments on the "Issue Paper" that outlines recommendations for fracking regualtions.  The Paper was release last month and can be found here: http://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Land/mining/marcellus/Documents/Issue_Papers_Combined.pdf

Written comments will be accepted through July 18, 2016 by e-mail at marcellus.mde@maryland.govor by mail at:

  • Attn: LMA Director’s Office
    Maryland Department of the Environment
    1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 610
    Baltimore, MD 21230

Based on continuing review and evaluation of the comments received on the issue papers, the Department will propose a revised set of regulations in the Maryland Register in advance of the October 1, 2016 promulgation deadline. Following proposal, the Department will provide an additional 30-day written comment period before taking any final action on the regulations.

Citizen Shale submitted the folowing statement:

To: Sec. Benjamin Grumbles, Maryland Department of Environment
From: Citizen Shale, Friendsville, MD

Citizen Shale, the community organization involved since 2011 in the shale gas development question in western Maryland, expresses our unequivocal opposition to your department’s attempts to regulate fracking with the rules presented recently in public hearings around Maryland.

We find the regulations will not ensure safety for those living in the path of development or for the environment. Given your department’s decision to so greatly relax and weaken many key provisions proposed by the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley, we see no alternative but to take our concerns to the legislature. 

We call upon the General Assembly to ban fracking in Maryland. 

Let us specifically address three areas in the draft regulations: setbacks from private residential water sources; multiple casing strings; and comprehensive development plans. First, however, please note such comments should not be construed to mean that “fixing” the problems cited may be sufficient for us to reverse our position regarding the need for a ban. Broadly, we feel the proposed rules are so flawed that no amount of “tweaking” can ensure “safe and responsible drilling,” as you, Gov. Hogan, and western Maryland's legislative delegation have promised. Further, we see no credible evidence — anywhere in the world — that fracking can be regulated without tremendous risk of harm for some people in the area of development, for our region’s economy, and for the environment. 

Regarding the recommended setback from private water sources (affecting an estimated 14,400 households): the department should be embarrassed to suggest that 1,000 feet — the same as currently required, back to 1993, before horizontal drilling or fracking — is sufficient. The scale and impact of drilling and gas infrastructure in 2016 is many times more invasive than in the “vertical drilling” era. 

We are well aware of the arguments for the 2,000-foot setback proposed proposed by the O'Malley administration (though the only peer-reviewed research on the subject recommended a 1 kilometer setback). Since that commission disbanded in late 2014, has new peer-reviewed research emerged? We are not aware of it, despite assurances from MDE’s Jeffrey Fretwell that a response to this concern—raised three times publicly by board president Paul Roberts—is forthcoming. To date, no follow-up has been received.

On this issue in particular, the department makes a mockery of the scientific process that it claims to follow. 

Similarly, MDE representatives at public meetings claimed that the “extra casing string” proposed will, somehow, make up for reducing the setback by 1,000 feet. Where is that scientific evidence? 

While the department may be willing to experiment on Marylanders with engineering concepts, speculation by engineers and administrators is not science. And, we believe the agency knows the difference even as, you, Mr. Secretary, continue to make erroneous claims that key elements of the proposed regulations are “guided by the science.” 

We object, strenuously. This cynical and cavalier approach to shale gas regulations undermines public confidence in government generally and in your ability specifically to regulate the industry, should Maryland ever be so unfortunate that fracking is allowed under the proposed regulatory scheme.

You also assert that comprehensive development plans are likely to reduce impacts on public health and the environment. Again, we have asked for the peer-reviewed research about this strategy. Again, nothing is forthcoming from MDE. 

Finally, further buttressing our position, the chief architect of the "O’Malley regulations” (former MDE administrator Brigid Kenney, now retired), stated at the June 29 public hearing in Garrett County that she, too, finds your proposals lacking and “insufficient to assure” the public that fracking can be done with acceptable risks. 

If fracking occurs in our state — using these regulations, “enforced" by this agency — western Maryland’s tourism economy will be undermined. Moreover, we believe many nightmarish stories of harm to humans and the environment — equal to those seen in Pennsylvania, which MDE has cited as a model for these regulations — are inevitable.

For this reason, for others outlined above, and for literally dozens cited in the public record of dialogue on fracking over the last seven years (excessive truck traffic; dangerous levels of toxic air emissions produced by that traffic and by the drilling process; significant risks for local first-responder and emergency medical services — examples all scantily addressed by these regulations), we see no credible evidence that the department is capable of regulating shale gas development. 

We respectfully submit these comments, and call upon the General Assembly to ban fracking in Maryland.

UNSAFE & irresponsible graphic AT

Posted in ACTION ALERTS, Announcements | Comments Off on Comment to MDE due Monday July 18

Do you live over a shale gas play?

Most people in Maryland think fracking could only happen in Western Maryland, in the Marcellus Shale.  But there are 4 more shale plays going across Maryland, under the Chesapeake Bay and out to the Ocean.



And then there's the Utica Shale, which is almost contiguous with the Marcellus in Maryland, but deeper.


Posted in Announcements, Environmental Impacts | Comments Off on Do you live over a shale gas play?

Sierra Club FRACKING BAN CAMPAIGN coming to Western Maryland

The Sierra Club's western Maryland fracking BAN campaign kickoff!

Join Us.  This Saturday, July 16

Click here to RSVP


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