A commission is looking at what impact the controversial drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, would have in Maryland. Unfortunately, it appears the report may not be completed on time.
Fracking is used to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale rock formation, which only lies under a small portion of western Maryland. The head of the commission says he believes the scope of the study is just too wide to finish by the current deadline in August, adding that a final report to the governor and General Assembly could be finished by the end of the year.
Complicating matters is how the study will be paid for. During this year's legislative session, the House passed a bill that would have paid for it by charging a fee on every acre of land leased for drilling, but the measure died in the Senate.
Opponents of fracking say it is dangerous for the environment and would harm western Maryland's growing tourism industry. Supporters say drilling would be an economic boon to the area.