Fracking in MD


The term “fracking” is shorthand for hydraulic fracturing. After drilling down to a rock formation that holds oil or natural gas, and then drilling sideways through this targeted layer of rock, operators inject, under extreme pressure, millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals to fracture (or “frack”) the rock.

In the public debate over the future of the U.S. energy system, fracking has come to mean much more than just the specific process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing of long horizontal wells to extract shale gas, tight gas and tight oil. To the public, fracking represents all that the specific process of hydraulic fracturing entails: marred landscapes and fragmented forests; roads crowded with heavy-duty trucks carrying water; chemicals and toxic waste; earthquakes related to disposal of this waste, and a legacy of air pollution, water pollution, climate pollution and public health problems.

Most reports about drilling and fracking in Maryland have focused on the potential to extract gas from the Marcellus shale in Garrett and Allegany counties in Western Maryland. However, recent assessments from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate that there are also gas deposits in other basins throughout the state including portions of the following counties: St. Mary’s, Calvert, Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Wicomico, Somerset, Worchester, Frederick and Montgomery counties.

Drilling and fracking have led to widespread reports of groundwater contamination, surface water contamination, significant air quality problems, public health concerns, economic losses to communities and a host of other problems across the country.