(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, issued this statement after the release today of the final report of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative:
"This is the kind of in-depth planning that we have been calling for on a regional scale for several years. We hope this report spurs the federal government to complete a similar, comprehensive study of the impacts of drilling on the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. No one state can foresee all the repercussions of drilling.
"We commend the O'Malley Administration for this report which, on paper, sets a high bar for protecting our drinking water, other natural resources, and the rural way of life in western Maryland. Now, the state needs to act quickly to turn these recommendations into regulations.
"If average Marylanders are going to benefit from fracking, not just the gas industry, state leaders must commit to the strictest enforcement of drilling regulations. That means increased funding for monitoring and other oversight. Western Maryland is still scarred from unregulated mining from years ago. We can't let that happen again.
"Regulations aren't the enemy of industry. Only 10 years ago some utilities warned that proposed state air pollution laws would cause mass layoffs, higher utility bills, and other drastic results. In reality, electricity prices dropped and most utilities prospered. Smart companies see reasonable government regulations as opportunities, not as obstacles."