Some 1,600 people attended the Shale Gas Insight 2011 conference held Wednesday and Thursday in Philadelphia. At yesterday’s second and final day of the conference, State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Michael Krancer spoke in place of Gov. Tom Corbett at a lunchtime keynote because the governor was responding to the widespread flooding crisis. Among his remarks was an observation that MDN has repeatedly made—that much of the opposition to shale gas drilling is ideological and philosophical, not scientific:
Mr. Krancer argued that the state, not the federal government, is the appropriate regulator of the industry and emphasized that "sound science" will dictate state environmental policies.
He criticized the authors of a Duke University study that found methane levels in drinking water supplies markedly higher near natural gas wells in Northeast Pennsylvania because the authors later wrote in an op-ed that they hoped to see "shale gas become largely unnecessary, along with coal and oil."
"There is an ideologically based opposition to this industry," Mr. Krancer said. "That opposition is not based on science or fact."
"Sometimes," he added later, "that ideology gets in the way of scientists and gets in the way of scientific research."
He also pushed the industry to uphold and expect the highest environmental standards of its own members.
"You are your brother’s keeper in this business," he said. "Peer pressure is critical."*
Also, state legislative leaders attending said that there will be a “flurry of legislative measures this fall” to address shortcomings in regulation of the industry in PA.
*The Scranton Times Tribune (Sep 9, 2011) – Lawmakers say expect flurry of legislation related to drilling