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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene contracted with the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) to study the potential public health impacts of natural gas development and production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland. This project is part of Governor O'Malley's Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative and was funded by the State. The preliminary results of this independent study were presented on June 28, 2014 at Garrett Community College, and the final results were presented to the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission at its August 18, 2014, meeting. Representatives of MIAEH will attend the Commission’s September 15, 2014 meeting to answer questions.

Comments on the Report Will be Accepted Through October 3

According to the Executive Summary: “Our assessments of potential health impacts are not predictions that these effects will necessarily occur in Maryland, where regulation is likely to be stricter than in some states where [unconventional natural gas development and production] is already underway. Rather, we provide assessments of the impacts that could occur and that need to be addressed by preventive public health measures if and when drilling is allowed.”

This report provides information and recommendations on important issues that will have a direct bearing on the decision whether to allow Marcellus Shale gas development and, if so, with what measures to protect human health.

The report contains 52 recommendations for addressing the potential risks to public health. Many of them match the recommendations in the interim final best practices report that Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources released on July 11, 2014. Others are new. All will be carefully considered as MDE and DNR, in consultation with an Advisory Commission, complete the work of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative.

  • Download the complete University of Maryland Report.

  • To learn more about the public health study, visit the University of Maryland, School of Public Health website.

  • You may also send written comments to: 
Environmental Health Bureau, Marcellus Shale Comments
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
201 W. Preston Street, Room 327
Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Download the December, 2013 draft scoping report..
  • Reviews of the report by independent experts:

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