CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — Two western Maryland counties that sit atop the Marcellus Shale geological formation are urging the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley to quickly approve safe drilling for natural gas.

The Cumberland Times-News reports that all six county commissioners from Allegany and Garrett counties have signed a letter to O’Malley. It asks him to encourage a state advisory commission to expedite its safety review and to direct the
Department of the Environment to authorize drilling.

The commission recently submitted its first set of recommendations to the governor. More recommendations are due in
August, followed by a final report two years later.

Much of the concern involves the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process forces water and chemicals underground to crack the rock and release the gas.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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