Will Maryland Start Issuing Marcellus Shale Drilling Permits Soon?

It’s tough to get a read on whether Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will allow drilling in the Marcellus Shale to move forward any time soon, or not.

A spokesman says O’Malley told local farmers, landowners and environmentalists at a meeting Monday near Grantsville that his administration will consider science and safety assurances in reviewing pending applications to drill in the Marcellus Shale beneath parts of the state’s western panhandle.

The Maryland Petroleum Council is criticizing O’Malley for supporting legislation that would mandate a drilling study, with a report due in August 2013. The group says the Marcellus Shale can help create jobs and clean energy, and that it shouldn’t take state regulators nearly 2 ½ years to incorporate lessons learned elsewhere. Spokesman Shaun Adamec says the issuance of drilling permits isn’t contingent on the study.*

*WMDT-TV/AP (Mar 14, 2011) – MD Governor Calling For Caution On Gas Drilling