Fracking in Maryland

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Fracking in Maryland
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Fracking in Maryland depends on available energy resources, the location of these resources, applicable laws and regulations, politics, and the power of environmental and industry groups. Decisions by policymakers and citizens, including state and local governments and ballot initiatives, affect if and how fracking occurs in a state.

Two western Maryland counties (Garrett and Allegany) overlie the Marcellus Shale, meaning that fracking could be practiced in the state. In June 2014, the state released a study regarding the potential human health impacts of fracking. According to a report in the Cumberland Times-News, the study found that "fracking could produce volatile organic compounds and result in truck traffic -- estimated at 6,000 trips per well tap -- that could spread chemicals, create noise pollution and road damage. The study found chemicals could be introduced by air, dust, soil, food and water." The governor's office is expected to announce a decision regarding the future of fracking in the state before the end of 2014.[1][2]

A bill was introduced in the state senate in early 2014 that would have banned fracking in Maryland, but it died in committee.[3][4]

Fracking background

See also: Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.

Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.

Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political trade-offs.

Natural gas use in Maryland

For more information on energy consumption in Maryland see, "Energy policy in Maryland"

The transportation, commercial and residential sectors each consume approximately 30 percent of energy in the state. The industrial sector is relatively small, only accounting for about 10 percent of total energy consumption. Petroleum is the leading source of energy consumption in Maryland, followed by coal, natural gas and nuclear electric power.[1]

Consumption of energy for heating homes in Maryland
Source Maryland 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 44.1% 49.5%
Fuel oil 10.5% 6.5%
Electricity 40.1% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 3.1% 5%
Other/none 2.2% 3.6%

Maryland produced a very small amount of natural gas in 2011. The exact amount was not specified by the EIA, as it was less than 0.05 billion BTU.[5]

Where electricity comes from in Maryland[6]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 9,000 0.31% 0.03%
Natural gas-fired 79,000 2.72% 0.01%
Coal-fired 1,349,000 46.42% 0.08%
Nuclear 1,279,000 44.01% 0.16%
Hydroelectric 77,000 2.65% 0.02%
Other renewables 89,000 3.06% 0.04%
Total net electricity generation 2,906,000 100% 0.07%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

News items

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Maryland Fracking News Feed

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See also

External links

References