Environment secretary pledges fracking policy transparency

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles says his agency will gather more information and listen to citizens as it develops rules for fracking in the state.

Grumbles fielded questions at a public meeting Tuesday in Garrett County in far western Maryland, where most of the state's shale gas resources lie.

He told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he's committed to a transparent process and to good stewardship of the Deep Creek Lake watershed.

A law passed by this year's General Assembly requires the Department of the Environment to finalize regulations for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas by Oct. 1, 2016. No drilling would be permitted before Oct. 1, 2017.