- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

FRIENDSVILLE, Md. (AP) - The western Maryland town of Friendsville is banning hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within its borders.

The Town Council approved the ban on a 5-1 vote Tuesday.

The town is in Garrett County, which overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus shale rock formation. State environmental regulators are developing rules to allow companies to use the technique to drill for gas as early as October 2017.

The process, also called fracking, pumps highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to fracture the shale and release gas.

Town Council member Jess Whittemore says the ordinance is aimed at protecting the Youghiogheny (yahk-ih-GAY’-nee) River, the source of drinking water for the town of about 500.

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