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MDE Schedules Fracking Meetings

June 16th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of the Environment will be holding three public meetings to discuss the development of new regulations for oil and gas exploration and production. The Department is required by State law to adopt new regulations to provide for the hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas by October 1, 2016.

The public meetings are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, June 22, 6-8 pm @ Allegany College, Continuing Education Building, 12401 Willowbrook Road, SE, Room CE 12-14, Cumberland, MD 21502
  • Monday, June 27, 6-8 pm @ MDE Headquarters, Montgomery Park, 1800 Washington Blvd, first floor conference rooms, Baltimore, MD 21230
  • Wednesday, June 29, 6-8 pm @ Garrett College, 687 Mosser Road, Auditorium (Room 715), McHenry, MD 21541

The Department had proposed regulations for oil and gas exploration and production on January 9, 2015. Since the close of the comment period on the 2015 proposal, the Department has been reviewing the 2015 proposal to ensure that it protects public health, safety, the environment, and natural resources while avoiding unnecessary barriers to responsible development of the State’s natural gas resources.

The Department has developed several “issue papers” that discuss specific topics that generated extensive interest when the Department proposed regulations in January 2015. The issue papers describe the Department’s current thinking with respect to key issues from the 2015 proposal. Each issue paper includes an overview of the requirements included in the 2015 proposal and the Department’s tentative suggestions for revising those requirements.

These issue papers will be released prior to the first public meeting on June 22. The three public meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to provide comments on the issue papers. Additionally, comments may be submitted via email or paper mail. Directions on providing comments via email or paper mail will be provided when the issue papers are released.

Based on continuing review and evaluation of the comments received on the issue papers, the Department will propose a revised set of regulations in the Maryland Register in advance of the October 1, 2016 promulgation deadline. Following proposal, the Department will provide an additional 30-day written comment period before taking any final action on the regulations.

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