The Marcellus Shale is a black shale, or rock formation, found throughout the northern Appalachian Basin. In Maryland, the Marcellus Shale formation is located within western Maryland from Washington, Allegany and Garrett Counties. The only anticipated areas of gas production in the Marcellus are Western Allegany and Garrett Counties. The Marcellus Formation underlies New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Western Maryland. In 2009, the Department of Energy estimated 262 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exists in the Marcellus Shale, making it the largest onshore Natural Gas Reserve in the United States.
Draft Regulations: Oil and Gas Exploration and Production
On Monday, September 26, 2016, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE or “the Department”) submitted a regulatory action to the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee. The purpose of the action is to update the regulations governing the exploration and production of oil and gas to address technologies that were not typically employed in Maryland when the existing regulations were adopted, including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. The draft regulations will ensure that any exploration and production of oil and gas is conducted in a manner protective of public health, safety, the environment, and natural resources. Following AELR Committee review, the regulatory proposal will be published in the Maryland Register and be open for public comment for 30 days.
Marcellus Shale Public Meetings & Issue Papers
The Department held three public meetings to discuss the development of new regulations for oil and gas exploration and production. The Department is required by State law to adopt new regulations to provide for the hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas by October 1, 2016.
The public meetings took place:
Wednesday, June 22, 6-8 pm @ Allegany College, Continuing Education Building, 12401 Willowbrook Road, SE, Room CE 12-14, Cumberland, MD 21502
Monday, June 27, 6-8 pm @ MDE Headquarters, Montgomery Park, 1800 Washington Blvd, first floor conference rooms, Baltimore, MD 21230
Wednesday, June 29, 6-8 pm @ Garrett College, 687 Mosser Road, Auditorium (Room 715), McHenry, MD 21541
The Department had proposed regulations for oil and gas exploration and production on January 9, 2015. Since the close of the comment period on the 2015 proposal, the Department has been reviewing the 2015 proposal to ensure that it protects public health, safety, the environment, and natural resources while avoiding unnecessary barriers to responsible development of the State’s natural gas resources.
The Department has developed several “issue papers” that discuss specific topics that generated extensive interest when the Department proposed regulations in January 2015. The issue papers describe the Department’s current thinking with respect to key issues from the 2015 proposal. Each issue paper includes an overview of the requirements included in the 2015 proposal and the Department’s tentative suggestions for revising those requirements.
The three public meetings provided an opportunity for the public to offer comments on the issue papers. Additionally, comments could be submitted via email or paper mail. Written comments were accepted through July 18, 2016 by e-mail at email@example.com or by mail at:
Attn: LMA Director’s Office
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 610
Baltimore, MD 21230
Based on continuing review and evaluation of the comments received on the issue papers, the Department will propose a revised set of regulations in the Maryland Register later this year. Following proposal, the Department will provide an additional 30-day written comment period before taking any final action on the regulations.
Any questions should be directed to Jeffrey Fretwell – firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-537-3537.