WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-Md.) today applauded the recent announcement by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) of a $37,500 grant to the Garrett County Board of County Commissioners for a project to improve the understanding of potential impacts related to natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale formation. The ARC grant, which will be matched by an equal amount of local funding, will explore possible detriments to tourism, property values and outdoor recreation opportunities likely to occur if fracking is allowed to expand in Western Maryland.
“Many of Western Maryland’s existing economic drivers depend on the region’s clean water and beautiful landscapes, so we must be sure not to allow them to be compromised forever when contemplating the type of short-term financial gains that could accompany an expansion of fracking for Marcellus shale,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “I support the responsible development of natural gas as part of ensuring our energy security, but we need to understand the true costs of our decisions and always err on the side of safety. The study enabled by this ARC grant holds the promise of offering a clear evaluation of the ecological and economic effects to existing industries and properties that could accompany expanded fracking. We owe it to the region and its residents to allow this study to proceed without political interference, and to pay close attention to its eventual findings.”
“Western Maryland’s stunning natural resources are not just picturesque. They represent the region’s economic engines today and the inheritance for generations to come,” Senator Mikulski said. “This grant will make possible a close study of the potential negative impacts of hydraulic fracking on those natural resources. I welcome an objective and rigorous study.”