The Marcellus Shale Coalition has launched www.AskAboutShale.org, an online forum designed to better understand the questions that residents of greater Philadelphia may have about natural gas development in Pennsylvania.
“The purpose is very simple. It’s to be open to listen first as to what types of concerns, issues and questions are on the minds of those in the five counties of Southeastern Pennsylvania,” says MSC President Kathryn Klaber.
The MSC is a coalition committed to the development of natural gas from the Marcellus, Utica and related shale formations. Coalition members work with partners across the region to address issues with regulators, local, county, state and federal government officials, and communities about all aspects of producing clean-burning, job-creating natural gas.
The coalition has held listening sessions throughout the region in an effort to hear concerns raised by residents, community and business organizations.
Klaber says many of the questions the coalition has received thus far center around safety and environmental concerns, the economic impact of drilling, and the government’s role in the process.
This fall, Pennsylvania’s natural gas producers will join with a diverse set of stakeholders from industry, academia, the public sector and elsewhere to begin a process of answering the questions with facts, sound science and comprehensive research.
There has been a major focus on natural gas development across the United States.
“Everyone is paying less for their electric and their gas now, and it’s a direct result of shale gas being produced in the Marcellus and across the country,” says Klaber.
“The other big issue is the country is now in a position where energy security and energy independence is a reality. We are at a point where the domestic production of oil and gas has allowed us to control our destiny — and that’s important for all Americans.”
A Commonwealth court recently ruled major provisions of Pennsylvania’s controversial law governing the oil and natural-gas industry unconstitutional; allowing communities to keep drilling away from homes, schools and parks.
Industry advocates contended that the law, Act 13, provided a uniform statewide zoning system that would have further bolstered Pennsylvania’s fracking boom.
Critics of the law argued that it would have compelled municipalities to allow hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, almost anywhere a company requested, without taking into account surroundings such as nearby schools, homes and waterways.
The Marcellus Shale is a natural gas-rich sedimentary rock located thousands of feet underground which stretches from upstate New York through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and parts of Ohio.