"I don't want to be sitting here when something happens and we didn't do everything we could possibly do to prevent it."
In Baltimore, Clean Water Action has been working for two years to prevent further oil train traffic from passing through our city and to make sure the City government, emergency services, and the public know all of the risks and health impacts that oil train shipments can cause. Our campaign is only a part of a nation-wide effort to stop oil trains, and the past few weeks have seen a lot of important victories and news across the country.
When Marylanders consider the risk of fracking in our state, we usually think of the Western Maryland counties – Washington, Alleghany, and Garret – that lie above the Marcellus Gas Basin. But smaller gas basins cross all parts of our state, including two in Frederick County. The Culpeper Basin stretches north from Virginia beneath Adamstown and Ballenger Creek to southern Frederick City; the Gettysburg Basin comes south from Pennsylvania beneath the Monocacy River touching Emmitsburg, Thurmont, and the northern edge of Frederick City including parts of Fort Detrick. All together, 19% of Frederick County has frackable gas beneath it – and that puts our farms, rivers, and drinking water at risk.
“Generally, they’re getting worse.” That was the verdict on Frederick County’s local streams at last night’s public hearing on the County’s Financial Assurance Plan, a document that should outline how the County government will pay for stormwater restoration projects mandated by the Chesapeake Bay Plan.
Stormwater runoff is one of the leading contributors to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. After big storms, the water carries whatever is on the ground and in the streets into our waterways. Impervious surfaces, such as the roads and pavement that cover densely populated areas, don’t allow rain to seep into the ground, causing more polluted stormwater to enter the Bay.
On Saturday, July 30th, a flash flood devastated Ellicott City. Approximately six inches of rain fell in two hours, which carried away over 100 vehicles and caused millions of dollars of damage to the City’s roads, sidewalks, and buildings. Not only was there severe destruction of infrastructure, but the storm also killed two people who were swept away by the water.
On Monday, July 4th, a sinkhole formed on West Mulberry Street in Baltimore City. Located between Greene and Paca Streets, this sinkhole will block traffic on Mulberry street for weeks and has already caused transportation officials to close a ramp off of U.S. Route 40 that led to downtown Baltimore. Not only is this sinkhole an inconvenience for traffic, but it is also unsafe. An inspector from the Department of Public Works (DPW) was injured as he examined the sinkhole when the ground collapsed under him, which widened the sinkhole.