- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

FRIENDSVILLE, Md. (AP) - The western Maryland town of Friendsville is proposing a ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within its jurisdiction.

The Town Council voted 4-2 Thursday to have its attorney review the proposed ordinance. Council member Jess Whittemore says in a statement he expects final passage this summer.

The town is in Garrett County, which overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus shale rock formation. State environmental regulators are developing rules for allowing 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.

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

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