"Since roughly mid-2006, Garrett and Allegany Counties have been receiving considerable interest by energy companies as a possible source of natural gas from a geologic formation known as the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus Shale has long been known as an organic-rich shale in the Appalachians, occurring at the surface and in the subsurface from New York to eastern Tennessee. However, the Marcellus had never been a target for gas exploration because it was not economical for the companies involved.That is about to change, as drilling techniques developed in the past ten years are being used in the Marcellus in Pennsylvania (and to a lesser extent in West Virginia) and will soon be used in New York and Maryland. The techniques involve (1) hydraulic fracturing the shale by pumping water into the shale under pressure to create vertical fractures in the shale layer, while at the same time introducing sand into the rock to keep the fractures open once the water is removed; and (2) drilling ho"
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