Don Hopey, writing in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on September 22nd, provided the primary portion of the information below:
A PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center report has identified more than a dozen categories of hidden costs — including aquifer contamination, human health problems and damage to roadways, home values and natural resources — linked to Marcellus Shale gas.
The report, released last week in Pittsburgh as Gov. Tom Corbett was welcoming the industry at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s second annual conference in Philadelphia, also stated that bonding amounts required by the state will be inadequate to cover long-term future costs of plugging abandoned wells.
“There are a staggering array of threats to the environment posed by Marcellus Shale gas development and myriad costs,” said Erika Staaf of PennEnvironment, a statewide advocacy organization. “We’re advocating a moratorium on drilling until additional safeguards and appropriate bonding is put in place.”
PennEnvironment is one of a half-dozen organizations advocating a halt to drilling at a demonstration on September 22nd on Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park, Oakland. According to the report, drilling activities, including hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” have damaged drinking water supplies, roads and bridges, increased the need for police, education and social services, fragmented state forests, impacted human health and released methane gas that contributes to global warming.
Travis Windle, a Marcellus Shale Coalition spokesman, said the report was an attempt by PennEnvironment to stoke anti-drilling publicity. “In truth, tightly regulated natural gas development is done responsibly, while helping to create tens of thousands of jobs and much-needed energy savings for consumers,” Mr. Windle said. “The air quality benefits tied to expanded natural gas use are also undeniable.”
The state announced last week that Pennsylvania drillers paid $197.6 million in the first round of Marcellus Shale impact fees, exceeding legislative estimates, but the report said those fees fall far short of covering all costs.
For more on Marcellus Shale, visit post-gazette.com/pipeline