The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues to get a lot of negative reaction to its grossly irresponsible series of stories attempting to connect shale drilling to several cases of childhood cancer in southwestern Pennsylvania (see Response to Pittsburgh Newspaper Smear Campaign re Child Cancer). The founder and CEO of Steel Nation, a company deeply involved in the Marcellus/Utica shale industry, is the latest to push back against the Post-Gazette‘s irresponsible series.
Mark Caskey, CEO of Steel Nation, is not just another vendor who makes a living from the shale industry–someone standing up to protect his rice bowl. Mark’s own daughter attends the same school where several children have contracted a rare form of cancer. Mark is a member of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Citizen Advisory Council and the DEP Environmental Quality Board. He advocates for strict environmental regulations. As a regulation “insider,” and someone with everything on the line (his own daughter), Mark’s words carry far more weight than most others.
To their credit, the Post-Gazette published Mark’s scorching rebuttal of their irresponsible series:
As the founder of a local small business that supports the oil and gas industry, the latest stories in the Post-Gazette’s “Human Toll” series do not reflect the experience that my friends, neighbors, colleagues or I have had with shale development.
The instances of rare childhood cancer — in the district where my daughter attends school and where there is a uranium mill tailings disposal site a quarter of a mile away — are alarming, but rushing to judgment and casting blame without the scientific and medical foundation is irresponsible. The Pennsylvania Department of Health, for example, said that cases of childhood cancers in the region are not higher than expected.
As a member of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Citizen Advisory Council and the Environmental Quality Board, I see many of the new regulations and rule-making decisions very closely. I know firsthand that shale development is one of the most regulated industries in the world.
We take the responsibility of environmental stewardship very seriously, as well as the health and safety of our employees and neighbors living close to our sites. In fact, my business, Steel Nation, specializes in creating quiet structures and providing specialized engineering and environmental expertise.
The oil and natural gas industry has brought many benefits for all Pennsylvanians: cheaper energy, thousands of high-paying jobs, investment and local taxes (over $250 million in impact fee revenue in 2018), and, of course, cleaner air. That’s a story worth telling and it’s one that I’m proud to be part of.
The writer is the president of Steel Nation, which specializes in pre-engineered metal buildings for the oil and gas industry.*
*Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette (Aug 1, 2019) – Shale development has brought Pennsylvania many benefits
NOTE: MDN is proud to have Steel Nation as our 2019 premier sponsor.