Letter to the Washington Post Editor

A recent Washington Post article included several inaccuracies and omissions about the development of natural gas in Garrett County, MD.

The Washington Post recently wrote about natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. Unfortunately, their article included several inaccuracies and omissions about the development of natural gas resources in Garrett County. We would like to share the open letter we sent to the Washington Post.

To the Editor:

While we applaud news coverage of such an important new source of clean-burning, home-grown natural gas as the vast Marcellus Shale, a recent Washington Post article on this subject ("Maryland county caught up in fight over energy extraction method," February 7, 2011) contained inaccuracies and an important omission that we would like to draw to your attention.

First, the article states that Maryland recently declined to issue permits to Chief Oil & Gas to drill in Garrett County. This statement is false. In fact, Chief Oil & Gas applied for its first Maryland permit to drill only a few weeks ago and no decisions have yet been made.

Further, contrary to the article's claims, the state has made no indication to us that officials are waiting for "improved drilling technology." And since no permit has been denied, Chief has not, as the article states, canceled any land leases as a result. In fact, as officials there know, we are eager to develop our leases in Garrett County.

In addition to these inaccuracies, the article makes an important omission. While it mentions the findings of a recent investigation into the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing fluids by Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado, it fails to cite their letter to EPA Administrator Jackson stating that they "...were unable to draw definitive conclusions about the potential impact of these injections on public health or the environment."

Our future energy security depends upon our ability to expand the development of safe, reliable domestic energy sources. We should engage as a nation in an honest - and accurate - discussion about our energy choices. Should you decide to write on the subject, we would appreciate the opportunity to share with you correct information about our company and the Marcellus Shale. Thank you for sharing our commitment to getting the facts right.