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MD Senator Holding Hearing on Hydraulic Fracturing

Maryland's environmental secretary is calling on the federal government to take a more active role in studying and regulating natural gas drilling.

Acting Secretary Robert Summers appeared Tuesday at a hearing in
Washington on a natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The technique involves pumping chemicals, water and sand underground to break apart rock formations and free
natural gas. Critics are concerned about the impact on groundwater
and drinking water.

Summers says drilling won't start in Maryland until state officials know whether it can be done safely. And he says hydraulic fracturing and waste disposal are among the activities that should be looked at more closely by the federal government.

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, who chairs the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, is holding the hearing.

Cardin says he will chair the hearing along with California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who heads the Environment and Public Works Committee.

The technique is being used in the Marcellus Shale formation runs beneath western Maryland, western Virginia, Pennsylvania, West
Virginia, New York and Ohio.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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