- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - A Garrett County panel that advises state regulators on fracking concerns is refining its plans for a tourism impact study.

The Shale Gas Advisory Group meets Tuesday evening in Oakland.

Cheryl DeBerry of the county’s economic development office says they’re finalizing recommendations for hiring a consultant to study the potential impact of gas drilling on tourism, real-estate values and outdoor recreation. Those topics were barely mentioned in a state-funded economic study in 2014.

Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The process uses pressurized water, sand and chemicals to fracture underground shale and release gas.

The practice is currently not permitted in Maryland but state regulators are working to adopt regulations by Oct. 1.

No drilling would be permitted before Oct. 1, 2017.

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