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Md. Budget Plan Includes Money For Fracking Study

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Natural gas, gas drilling

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley has proposed spending $1.5 million to study using hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in western Maryland.

The allocation is the fiscal 2014 budget the Democratic governor proposed this week in Annapolis. The money would be used for stream sampling, economic analysis and a review of the potential impacts of gas extraction on public health.

The governor’s timetable calls for the state’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission to issue a final report in August 2014. The state won’t issue drilling permits until after that.

Meanwhile, Democratic Delegate Heather Mizeur plans to introduce a bill that would officially bar fracking until the state completes a series of 14 studies the governor laid out in a 2011 executive order on gas drilling.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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