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As Maryland lawmakers consider fracking rules, advocates ready to fight for permanent ban

December 21st, 2016 by WCBC Radio

A General Assembly hearing Tuesday on regulations to protect water quality and public health if fracking begins in Maryland foreshadowed an imminent fight over whether to ban the natural gas-extraction process before the proposed rules could even take effect next year.

Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles called the rules a "platinum package," a step up from the "gold standard" former Gov. Martin O'Malley applied in fracking rules his administration released early in 2015.

Grumbles said the new regulations, unlike O'Malley's rules, would prohibit fracking within the Deep Creek Lake watershed in Garrett County and require quadruple layers of cement and steel around wells and deep safety valves.

Western Maryland residents urged a joint legislative panel to approve the rules and foster economic growth in the region, home to a strip of gas-rich Marcellus shale.

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