OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - Real-estate brokers in far western Maryland are supporting a proposal in the Maryland General Assembly for an eight-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas pending further study.
The Garrett County Board of Realtors expressed concern Tuesday about the possible impact of fracking on public health. They say fears of health problems from well-water contamination can reduce home values by at least 20 percent.
Garrett County contains most of Maryland's share of the gas-rich Marcellus shale.
The House version of the moratorium bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday.
Fracking is currently not permitted in Maryland, although the state has proposed tough regulations for allowing the practice.
The governments of Garrett and neighboring Allegany County say those rules are too restrictive and would stifle development of a lucrative resource.