Comments Requested on the Marcellus Shale Project

Baltimore, MD (September 18, 2013) - The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announces two public meetings to receive public input regarding the study of potential public health impacts associated with the possible development of the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland. DHMH is overseeing the study, which will be performed by the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health.

The first meeting will be held Tuesday, September 24, 2013 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. in Room 226 of the Compton Science Building at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. The second meeting will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of Garrett College in McHenry, Maryland. At each meeting, members of the public are invited to present their views and suggestions for the project.

Using money from the State that became available in April 2013, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) asked DHMH to engage experts to prepare a public health report and oversee the work. University of Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (UMIAEH) agreed to prepare the report. This effort is part of the study that MDE and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 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 UMIAEH project team is asking for a wide variety of stakeholders and interested parties to share their questions, suggestions, comments, and concerns with the team. They intend to ask for this input at the two meetings.

The UMIAEH is directed by Dr. Donald Milton, MD, DrPH, who will also lead the project. Dr. Milton is an internationally recognized expert in occupational and environmental medicine, and has extensive experience leading large collaborative research projects. The project team also includes experts in toxicology, public health, epidemiology, anthropology, and environmental justice.

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

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