To answer the question posed in the headline with brutal honesty: Maybe.
Disturbing Observation #1: Yesterday the New York State Senate unanimously confirmed Joe Martens to lead the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC, for those who don’t live in New York, is the agency charged with overseeing drilling in the Marcellus Shale—in fact oversight for all oil and gas drilling in the state. New York has been caught in a holding pattern on Marcellus Shale drilling for over two years, and New York’s landowners are growing weary of the delays in adopting new regulations for drilling in the Marcellus, meaning no permits for drilling in the Marcellus have been issued.
In yesterday’s budget address, new Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced the formation of a 30-member Marcellus Shale Commission. The members of the commission (listed below) come from a cross-section of government officials, representatives from the drilling industry, and representatives from environmental organizations. The new commission, which will be headed up by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, is a balanced cross section representing all interests in the drilling debate. The commission is charged with taking a close look at the issue of Marcellus Shale drilling and producing a report with recommendations for development and regulation of the industry in PA. The report is due on the Governor’s desk on or before July 22.
Administrators of North Huntingdon Township, PA (Westmoreland County), are attempting to control drilling in the Marcellus Shale within their borders. They acknowledge that Pennsylvania state courts have already ruled local municipalities cannot outright ban drilling, so the North Huntingdon planning commission is attempting to place restrictions that would greatly curtail drilling in the Township. The current draft regulations—yet to be voted on—focus on noise: