concludes that “Maryland has the opportunity to take a national leadership
position in demonstrating how smart planning can achieve environmental and
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Wa
ter Watch, said Quigley’s
report amounted to the start of regulation setting in Maryland.The fracking commission released a report on best practices in May, which alsocalled for the submission of five-year plans before natural gas companies couldreceive a permit. Maryland would become the only state to demand such a plan.That report is open to public comment through mid-August. Some in theenvironmental community have questioned in recent weeks how the commissioncould recommend best practices without first completing a safety study.
“The commissioning of this report contradicts Gov. O’Malley’s public insistencethat he will not pursue fracking until it is declared safe,” Hauter said. “He’s saidthat Maryland won’t turn into another Pennsylvania. But
then why is he hiring theofficial that brought fracking there to smooth over the challenges to forming
regulations to open Maryland to fracking?”
Takirra Winfield, a spokeswoman for O’Malley, called Food & Water Watch’saccusations “bogus.”
“They completely ignored the MDE and DNR … they never bothered to contactthem to get our side in it,” Winfield said. “It’s inaccurate. … No decision has beenmade on whether to allow fracking in Maryland.”
She also said O’Malley had no direct role in soliciting Quigley’s opinion. Quigleytestified before the House of Delegates’ Environmental Matters Committee this
year on the issue of drilling plans, officials said, and members of the committeeand the fracking commission requested he present a formal report.
“It’s not like this guy is on the governor’s quick dial list,” Winfield said.
Conn, the DNR researcher, stressed that Quigley’s report was intended to be a
complementary resource for the commission and state agencies as they consider whether to issue drilling permits.
“It provides additional information for the commission, the agencies and the
public to better understand how a comprehensive drilling plan could be used topreserve the protection of our resources, should we go forth with hydraulic
fracturing,” Conn said. “We’ve indicated we would like to see this as a mandatory
requirement before any company submits a permit. We would like to see the
entirety of their operation and what they plan to do.”