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Robert A. Zirkin

Maryland officials say state will miss deadline to set fracking rules, as push for a permanent ban begins

Maryland officials say state will miss deadline to set fracking rules, as push for a permanent ban begins

State environmental regulators say they will not adopt rules to govern gas drilling in Western Maryland by Oct. 1, missing a legal deadline one year out from the expiration of the statewide ban on the controversial practice known as fracking.

While officials said regulations are still expected some time this fall, the delay means details of how the state would manage risks to groundwater and public health remain unclear as debate intensifies over whether and how safely hydraulic fracturing might occur in Maryland.

The gas-extraction technique, which involves injecting fluids into rock at high pressure, has been found to contaminate nearby water sources.

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