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Frostburg officials meeting with proponents of fracking ban

In this June 25, 2012 file photo, a crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

In this June 25, 2012 file photo, a crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

FROSTBURG — Frostburg’s mayor and City Council are meeting with proponents of a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil in the western Maryland college town.

The special meeting Thursday night follows a large turnout at a council meeting last month in support of the ordinance proposed by the citizen group Frack-Free Frostburg.

The group also wants to prohibit fracking on city-owned land, including about 1,800 acres of the Piney Reservoir watershed in neighboring Garrett County. The reservoir is one of the city’s drinking water sources.

City Administrator John Kirby has argued that local zoning regulations already prohibit drilling for oil and gas in the city. He’s recommending a resolution to prohibit commercial activity on city-owned land in the Piney Reservoir watershed.