Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has ordered an in-depth study of shale-gas drilling. The study is supposed to be complete in December, before the next regular session of the legislature. Maryland hasn't issued any shale-gas drilling permits and was unlikely to do so anytime soon. Nevertheless, the study pushes everything back at least until next year.
It's a good idea to investigate the damage and pollution that hydrofracking is causing. I argue that hydrofracking, under adequate regulation (there is none now), could be a lesser environmental evil given the alternatives of coal, oil etc. (Natural gas is pretty clean and emits much less carbon dioxide than coal.) The governor is correct to look at the downsides. At stake among other things are millions of dollars for Garrett County farmers with potential wells on their land. Below is O'Malley's press release.