FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is studying the possible public health effects of natural gas drilling in the western part of the state.

A meeting Tuesday night in Frostburg is the first of two sessions aimed at gathering public input on the project.

Western Maryland sits atop part of the Marcellus shale, a rock formation that contains natural gas. The state Department of the Environment is working on rules that would allow companies to collect the gas through a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing.

The technique has raised environmental concerns elsewhere. The public health agency is studying the possible health impact in Maryland as part of the state’s effort to develop drilling rules.

The report is due next summer.

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


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