Maryland officials are currently taking public comment on a University of Maryland study on the likely effects of fracking in the state. The report includes “52 recommendations for assessing and offsetting potential impacts.” They’re preparing to make a final decision on the practice in consultation with an O’Malley-appointed advisory panel — sometime in the next few months.
Meanwhile, Yale researchers have determined — from a survey of 180 households living off well water in southwestern Pennsylvania — that people who live closer to natural gas wells are more likely to report certain upper respiratory ailments and skin conditions. The correlation holds up even when results were adjusted for “gender, age, educational level, smoking, and awareness of environmental risk factors.”
The study doesn’t pinpoint a cause; it merely demonstrates a correlation that begs further research. And for that very reason, perhaps this deadline of fall 2014 for a decision on fracking in Maryland should be abandoned. Let’s not be tied to an arbitrary timeline, when haven’t yet got all the information.
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