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Md. puts gas drilling proposals out for review

CUMBERLAND — Maryland’s Department of the Environment is seeking public comment on proposed “best practices” for natural gas drilling in western Maryland.

The Cumberland Times-News reported Thursday that the comment period runs through Aug. 9.

The proposals were developed by a state commission that is recommending rules for hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus shale rock formation underlying parts of Allegany and Garrett counties.

The draft report recommends measures to minimize surface disturbance and protect environmentally sensitive areas and drinking water sources.

Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine says he fears that the recommendations, if adopted, would discourage gas development in Maryland.

The document is a draft version of what will become the second of three commission reports. No drilling can occur before the panel’s final report, scheduled for August 2014.