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Md. House To Debate Natural Gas Drilling

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland House of Delegates is set to vote this week on an effort to restrict drilling for natural gas in western Maryland.

Democratic Delegate Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County is pushing a bill to severely limit when the state can issue drilling permits.

If the House approves it Tuesday, the bill would still need the approval of the Senate and Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Oil and gas companies are seeking permission from many East Coast governments to access the multi-state Marcellus Shale. The formation holds large supplies of natural gas, but can only be accessed with hydraulic fracturing, a process environmentalists oppose.

A House committee last week rejected an effort by Republican Delegate Wendell Beitzel of Garrett County to require the Maryland Department of Environment to issue drilling permits.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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