Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Maryland Bill Would Forbid Import of Fracking Waste Water

A Montgomery County delegate has introduced a bill that would ban the treatment of wastewater generated by hydraulic fracturing. House Bill 296, sponsored by Delegate Shane Robinson, only bans importing wastewater for treatment or storage from other states.

The bill does not address fracking water that could be created in Maryland, although there is currently no hydraulic fracturing taking place in the Free State. In order to get the natural gas trapped in Marcellus shale to the surface, chemicals, water and sand are pumped underground to break apart rock formations and free the gas. The process is called hydraulic fracturing.

“A person may not ship or transport into the state, or store, treat discharge or dispose of in the state, flow back or other wastewater resulting from hydraulic fracturing activities occurring in another state,” the bill reads, in part.

“The Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater Prohibition Act is a great first step toward protecting Maryland residents from the dangers of fracking,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It is almost impossible to know what chemicals are being used in the fracking process, and if these chemicals have been treated properly before being discharged into watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay,” Hauter said. Food & Water Watch is a public-interest organization that remains independent of corporate and government influence, according to its website. “Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced,” the website states.
I'm agnostic on the wisdom of banning the importation of fracking waste water from neighboring states, because, frankly, I can't imagine why it would happen at all, unless costs for treating and disposing of it here were vastly cheaper than in neighboring states, and I can't imagine that.   I might imagine some place like Blue Plains be willing to take fracking water for a price, and being able to treat and dilute it to non-detectability.  It's hard to imagine it as an economically viable scheme however.

However, when someone tells me they want to do something sustainably, I instinctively check to see if my wallet is still there...


  1. This is a good step to keep the people of maryland away from waste water and to provide them clean and pure drinking water.

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  2. Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

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