DOE to Hold Meeting on Fracking
Source: Associated Press (6/13/11)
"Over 3,000 wells have been drilled in the Marcellus in recent years."
A DOE hearing on fracking in Pennsylvania is expected to draw both supporters and protesters. Members of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board will be at the meeting to garner detail, reaction and comments about hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a technique that has allowed energy companies to reach previous inaccessible stores of natural gas.
An industry trade group said Friday it would help pro-drilling landowners attend by paying their transportation costs, while environmental groups pledged to protest what they call 'a pro-industry bias on the board.'
Political parties have also entered the fray, with Washington County's Republican Party asking local landowners to show up and speak.
"Opposition groups are already mobilizing people from outside of the region. . .we need employees, service companies, land owners. . .everyone," the GOP email read.
Pennsylvania's Democratic Party responded, noting, "A local Republican county party is coordinating with the gas industry to Astroturf tonight's. . .meeting."
The Marcellus Shale contains the nation's largest-known natural gas reservoir and lies primarily beneath PA, with over 3,000 wells drilled in the past three years and thousands more planned, as thick shale becomes an affordable, plentiful and profitable nat gas source.
When drilling companies began flocking to PA to exploit the Marcellus Shale several years ago, they were largely working under 1980s laws that never envisioned the combination of horizontal drilling and fracking, a process wherein millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals, is blasted deep underground to break up shale rock and release the trapped gas inside.
So far, the Legislature has done little to change that, other than pass a bill to require faster public disclosure of well-by-well gas production data from Marcellus wells and debate the merits of a tax on gas extraction. Pennsylvania remains the largest gas-drilling state without such a tax.