Md. recommends tight restrictions on gas drilling

DAVID DISHNEAU
Associated Press

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — State regulators are recommending what they call some of the nation’s tightest environmental restrictions on shale gas drilling in western Maryland.

The departments of the environment and natural resources jointly released an interim report Friday on “best practices” for safe drilling in Maryland’s portion of the Marcellus shale.

It generally recommends no drilling within 2,000 feet of private drinking water wells and at least 1,000 feet from public drinking water sources to prevent contamination by methane leaking from drill sites.

Maryland’s current setback for private water wells is 1,000 feet. Environmental regulators say they know of no state with a 2,000-foot buffer.

The recommendations also would require companies to gain state approval for all foreseeable gas development in an area rather than for each well individually.

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