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Gas drilling panel discussing best practices

CUMBERLAND — A state panel studying prospects for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in western Maryland is trying to pinpoint the best practices used elsewhere.

That’s the main focus of a meeting Friday in Cumberland of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.

Professor Keith Eshleman of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies is briefing the group on his efforts to research best practices on a tight budget. A draft report on that topic is due Dec. 31.

The commission is also hearing about recent legislative proposals regarding hydraulic fracturing. Montgomery County Democratic Delegate Heather Mizeur says she wants the General Assembly, rather than state regulators, to decide whether to allow the technique in Maryland.

Another Montgomery County Democrat, Delegate Shane Robinson, says he wants to ban the practice outright.