MOUNTAIN LAKE PARK, Md. (AP) — The western Maryland town of Mountain Lake Park is telling natural gas drilling companies to stay away.

The Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance Thursday that bans the creation of new gas wells within the town of 2,100.

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The vote is in response to the gas industry’s interest in tapping the Marcellus Shale, a vast geological formation underlying parts of Allegany and Garrett counties.

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Drilling companies obtain gas from the shale through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that creates toxic wastewater.

Proponents say drilling could bring economic growth to far western Maryland and wealth to private landowners.

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