A commission set up to investigate the ins and outs of using hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — to extract natural gas in western Maryland is asking Gov. Martin O’Malley for four more months to complete the study, after the group determined that there was no way to “do the report right” in the allotted time. The commission also finds itself low on funds, since a measure that would require gas companies to foot the bill for the impact study died in the General Assembly.
O’Malley has yet to weigh in on the commission’s embattled situation, but a thorough, honest study of fracking and its effects is worth the time and money it takes, especially considering the harm it may or may not be doing to our water supply. In any event, we certainly shouldn’t be fracking the Marcellus Shale to pieces without one.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t have gas companies fund the study, as logical as it may seem. The commission may very well end up advising against fracking altogether, an outcome that becomes less viable the more gas company dollars are wrapped up in the study. This way when the study finds that fracking definitely does cause egregious harm to the environment, the gas companies can just pick up their bags and move further on down the line (yeah right — there’s no way we’re not getting fracked).