Maryland students document public comments on fracking

FRIENDSVILLE — Frostburg State University students are recording public comments about prospects for natural gas drilling in western Maryland.

They’re holding a “listening event” Tuesday in Friendsville as part of a project to document local opinions about the drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Associate Professor Kara Rogers Thomas says students in her Appalachian folklore class began making the audio recordings last fall. Students in her environmental sociology course are continuing the work this semester. They’ll share preliminary findings at a Frostburg community event April 22.

Thomas says the students are trained to respect a full range of opinions.

She says public interest in the project has increased with the recent election of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Hogan has spoken in favor of allowing natural gas development in the region.

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