Annapolis Update–3/2/12

It was an eventful week in Annapolis. On Wednesday, my bill that would require the testing of sludge from dredged lakes was heard in the Environmental Matters Committee. Recently, sludge from Lake Whetstone was found to have several toxic substances. This sludge is frequently spread on community fields, and I don’t want children playing where toxic substances have been dumped. And so I feel strongly that we need to figure out how to prevent this from happening.  Unfortunately, some feel this would be too onerous a requirement for the agency responsible for testing. But I can assure you that, along with Senator Nancy King, I will be working hard to figure out how to solve this problem.  District 39 parents need to know their kids are safe on local fields.

Also this week, the process of natural gas extraction known as “fracking” came up in committee. Some in the legislature wish to put in place regulations and taxes that I feel would lead us closer to fracking in Maryland. I think this is unwise. Currently, there are no wells being drilled in our state; I want to keep it that way. The obvious question remains: If we are so concerned about the dangers that we must regulate this so strictly, why allow it at all?

Because of jobs? No. Studies show the vast majority of fracking jobs go to out-of-state workers.

Because of revenue? No. Is a modicum of state revenue worth risking public health and water safety?

As I have stated before: industry has not proven fracking can be done safely. Indeed, it has contaminated water, caused earthquakes, and led to numerous health issues in the unfortunate Americans who live close to drill sites. We should focus on making Maryland a leader in the clean energy industry, not continuing down the dirty, fiscally myopic fossil fuel road to nowhere.