The final report of the Maryland Marcellus Shale Public Health Study was released today by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Clifford Mitchell gave a presentation to the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission this afternoon. More information is available from the DHMH Marcellus Shale and Public Health webpage. A copy of the report is also available here.
Concerned residents filled the Garrett College auditorium on Saturday, October 5 to discuss the future of hydraulic fracturing in their community. This was the second stakeholder engagement and scoping meeting held by the Marcellus Shale Public Health Study team from the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health. The purpose of the scoping meeting was to understand the communities concerns and to help guide the objectives of the health study.
Dr. Sacoby Wilson opened the meeting with an overview of study. We used the top themes that arose from the previous stakeholder engagement meeting held on Tuesday, September 24 to guide the discussion. The benefits of fracking were discussed first. Community members recognized the economic benefits of fracking, including an increase in jobs and tax revenue. The remainder of the meeting focused on populations of concern, healthcare infrastructure, baseline health assessment, air and water quality.
Throughout the meeting, emotions were high as the community stakeholders discussed how fracking would disrupt their peaceful community. Noise, mental health, and the capacity of the healthcare system to handle fracking-related emergencies were among the top concerns. The unknowns related to the future of fracking in Maryland have many residents on edge, worried about what it will do to their property values and their overall quality of life.
This meeting completed the study's scoping phase. We will publish our draft scoping report on the website over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
On September 24, 2013 the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) held its first stakeholder engagement and scoping meeting at Frostburg State University to discuss natural gas drilling and extraction in the Marcellus Shale in Western Allegany and Garrett Counties. Participants included concerned community members and advocates. Drs. Cliff Mitchell and Sacoby Wilson opened the meeting with an overview of the study. After reviewing the meeting ground rules, Dr. Wilson opened the floor to the stakeholders for the scoping discussion. The discussion included concerns related to:
The concerns and benefits of hydraulic fracturing in Western Maryland discussed at this meeting were used to develop a list of key themes. The key themes will be discussed in greater detail at the next stakeholder engagement meeting on October 5.