OAKLAND, Md. (AP) — The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is urging state regulators to expedite their study of methods for safely extracting natural gas from shale deposits in far western Maryland.

The Cumberland Times-News reported in its Friday edition that the group has sent a position paper on the topic to the county’s state legislators and business leaders in neighboring Allegany County.

The document recognizes concerns about infrastructure constraints and potential environmental damage but says the region “cannot miss this incredible development opportunity.”

The chamber estimates the value of natural gas in the Marcellus shale at $32.4 billion in Garrett County and $15.7 billion in Allegany County. It says the Utica shale, which lies beneath the Marcellus shale, holds even greater economic potential.

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


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