- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - The Garrett County Commissioners are considering a Deep Creek Lake watershed management plan that would restrict drilling for natural gas in the resort area.

The plan is up for discussion at Monday’s board meeting.

The plan was drafted in 2014. It would prohibit wellheads on 41,000 acres around the lake.

Some of that acreage overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus shale rock formation. State environmental regulators are developing rules for allowing companies to drill for gas as early as 2017 using the technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The technique involves both vertical and horizontal drilling. The plan wouldn’t ban horizontal drilling in the watershed but would prohibit drilling activity and gas collection on the surface.

Proponents say the proposal is meant to preserve the area’s scenic beauty.

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