The drinking started early at the Maryland legislative session Wednesday morning. Anti-fracking activists from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network set up a “water taste test” outside the State House, inviting legislators to choose between cloudy brown water from a house spigot in a “heavily fracked” area of southwestern Pennsylvania, a sample of “seemingly clear but at-risk” water from an area potentially affected by fracking, and tap water from a fountain inside the State House.
The activists were promoting a bill to be introduced in the House of Delegates that would place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the state until more studies of its impact on the environment and public health are completed.
Hydraulic fracturing, referred to as fracking, uses high water pressure to split gas-bearing shale rock.
The legislation will be introduced by Del. Heather Mizeur (D- Montgomery County). “People have the option to drink the different kinds of water,” said Mizeur, who stopped by the taste test but did not sip the “contaminated” water. “I’d wait for the studies to be complete before I decide,” she said.
In order to taste “contaminated” water samples, participants were required to sign a waiver absolving the CCAN of responsibility for “ANY RISK OF BODILY INJURY OR DEATH” that occurred “now and forever,” as a result of drinking the water.
“We had some people take the clean water,” said CCAN spokesperson Kelly Trout, “But nobody took us up on the brown water from Pennsylvania, understandably.”