Shale gas drilling: What's the rush?

February 15, 2011

I appreciate The Sun's editorial in favor of going slow on natural gas drilling from shale deposits ("Go slow on shale drilling," Feb. 14). This risky drilling practice involves injecting chemicals more than a mile deep at high pressure to fracture rock formations and extract natural gas. Experience shows that it can lead to contamination of drinking water supplies and other environment damage.

Some people want to go forward with this type of drilling in Maryland as quickly as possible, as if we would lose the chance if we don't drill it all right now. But the gas has been there for hundreds of millions of years. We can take a deep breath as we put the necessary safeguards in place. Maryland lawmakers should pass a moratorium on shale drilling until the appropriate rules have been studied and established.

Brad Heavner, Baltimore

The writer is state director of Environment Maryland.

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