A recent editorial (“Is shale drilling good for you?”, Dec. 1) misses the mark on a number of levels.
It must be noted that The Times Leader, through its parent company Civitas Media, publishes a quarterly publication – NEPA Energy Journal – that highlights the benefits of natural gas to our region and is an economic beneficiary, in its own right, of shale development.
This aside, the opinion shared by The Times Leader editorial board is certainly not that of the many locally born and raised shale gas workers, the thousands of households in Northeastern Pennsylvania saving on their utility bills and the millions who depend on everyday products – such as plastics – derived from natural gas liquids.
The editorial also overlooks data from independent sources, each of whom have concluded that there are substantial economic and environmental benefits of shale development. Among these:
· Strict regulation: The State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, independent experts reviewing regulations across the country, has again deemed Pennsylvania’s regulation of shale development “well-managed, professional and meeting its program objectives.” These regulations were strengthened significantly through enhanced water protections such as well setbacks and casing standards.
· Cleaner air: The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed in October that carbon emissions are at their lowest since 1994, thanks to increased use of natural gas.
· More jobs: More than 200,000 new hires in Pennsylvania are supported by industries associated with shale development.
· More revenue: The natural gas industry has paid more than $1.8 billion in taxes since 2008, and $406 million in the last two years to communities through an impact fee.
Rather than relying on these facts, the editorial resorts to touting efforts funded by organizations fundamentally and philosophically opposed to natural gas development.
Your readers deserve better.
We welcome fact-based discussion on shale development, and welcome The Times Leader to be an active participant, as an important civic voice.
But in doing so, let’s be guided by facts, which show that a clean environment and growing economy can exist mutually through shale development.
Marcellus Shale Coalition