I attended a Roundtable for the Renewable Natural Resource Foundation on June 11 at the American Society of Landscape Architect’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Dr. David Vanko, chairperson of the Maryland Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission provided an insider’s perspective on the debate in Maryland over whether to approve the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fracking involves the high pressure intrusion of water, chemicals, and sand deep into the shale formations to recover natural gas and petroleum products. The decision is a complicated one and balances out the environmental safety of natural resources–including our forests– impacted by fracking with the efforts to provide energy security to our country. States make their own laws and standards, which complicates the National effort. Maryland is a state that has banned fracking, but is looking to allow this procedure with specific guidelines.

Pictured standing (L-R): David Vanko (Maryland Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission), Dick Engberg (American Water Resources Association), Barry Starke (American Society of Landscape Architects-ASLA), Bradford McKee (ASLA), Keith Swann (ASLA), Melissa Goodwin (Renewable Natural Resources Foundation-RNRF), Jennee Kuang (RNRF), Curtis Millay (ASLA), John Durrant (American Society of Civil Engineers); seated (L-R): Lindsey Bowman (Geological Society of America-GSA), Jessica Ball (GSA),Nancy Somerville (ASLA), Howard Rosen (Society of Wood Science and Technology), Sarah Gerould(Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry)

More information can be found at the RNRF website – http://www.rnrf.org/news.html

Howard N. Rosen
Chairman of the RNRF Board
SWST RNRF Representative