Local public health officials and the general public will learn about and make comments concerning the Final Report: Potential Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas Development and Production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland at a public meeting on September 25, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Garrett County Health Department on Memorial Drive in Oakland.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene contracted with the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) to study the potential public health impacts of natural gas development and production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland. This project is part of Governor O'Malley's Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative and was funded by the State. The results of this independent study were presented on June 28, 2014 at Garrett College, and to the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission at its August 18, 2014 meeting. Representatives of MIAEH will attend the Commission's September 15, 2014 in Frostburg to answer questions.
“Comments on the report will be accepted through the close of business on Friday, October 3rd,” said Cheryl DeBerry with Garrett County’s Office of Economic Development and staff for the Garrett County Shale Gas Advisory Committee. “We are using this meeting on the 25th to learn from local public health advocates and the broader community about the implications of this report.” DeBerry also said that comments received during the meeting will be shared with the Garrett County Commissioners and the state.
According to the report’s Executive Summary: “Our assessments of potential health impacts are not predictions that these effects will necessarily occur in Maryland, where regulation is likely to be stricter than in some states where UNGDP [unconventional natural gas development and production] is already underway. Rather, we provide assessments of the impacts that could occur and that need to be addressed by preventive public health measures if and when drilling is allowed.”
This report provides information and recommendations on important issues that will have a direct bearing on the decision whether to allow Marcellus Shale gas development and, if so, with what measures to protect human health.
The report contains 52 recommendations for addressing the potential risks to public health. Many of them match the recommendations in the interim final best practices report that Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released on July 11, 2014. Others are new. All will be carefully considered as MDE and DNR, in consultation with an Advisory Commission, complete the work of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative.
For more information about the study, visit http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OEHFP/EH/SitePages/MarcellusShale.aspx
For more information about the Shale Gas Advisory Committee, visit http://marcellusshale.garrettcounty.org/
Comments on the report can be made directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
or sent to Environmental Health Bureau, Marcellus Shale comments, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 201 W. Preston Street, Room 327, Baltimore, MD 21201.