September 20, 2013

Dr. Donald Milton, director of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, will lead a project to assess the potential health impacts associated with the possible development of Marcellus shale in Western Maryland. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) have commissioned the report.

The Marcellus shale formation, which extends throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and western Maryland, contains largely untapped natural gas reserves now believed to hold the largest volume of recoverable natural gas in the United States. Recovery of gas from the Marcellus shale requires extraction by hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

As the first step in the public health impact assessment, University of Maryland experts in toxicology, public health, epidemiology, anthropology and environmental justice will join officials from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at a public meeting to solicit input regarding the study of potential health impacts associated with fracking in Western Maryland.

Public meetings are scheduled Sept. 24 in Allegany County and Oct. 5 in Garrett County.

The first meeting will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. in Room 226 of the Compton Science Center at Frostburg State University. The second meeting will be from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Garrett College auditorium.

This effort is part of the study that MDE and the Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with an advisory commission, are conducting as part of the Governor's Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative.

In preparation for the report, the University of Maryland School of Public Health project team is asking for a wide variety of stakeholders and interested parties to share their questions, suggestions, comments and concerns with the team.

The report is scheduled to be presented in its final version to the state in summer 2014.

Related People
Donald Milton