Western Maryland town proposes fracking ban

Maryland’s two-year ban on hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is expected to end in October 2017. But a small town in northern Garrett County wants to keep the drilling technique from ever being used within its borders.

The issue is divisive among the town’s roughly 500 residents.

“I’d say it’s about 50-50 in the population — 50 percent of the people are for it, 50 percent are against it,” said Jess Whittemore, who sits on Friendsville’s Town Council.

Earlier this month, Whittemore introduced an ordinance to ban companies from drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale that lies beneath the town. The council gave the proposal initial approval last week and plans to hold a public hearing followed by a vote in early July.

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