When we started to read an article about a “neighborhood watch” program for Utica and Marcellus Shale wells that’s being discussed in Ohio by the anti-drilling Southeast Ohio Fracking Interest Group, we kind of grinned. We thought it sounded like the typical nutty stuff anti-frackers do to try and put a veneer of respectability on their extremist, hate-all-fossil-fuels philosophy. However, when we read further, we found there is such a “well watching” group operating in West Virginia, and it’s members are level-headed and don’t have the attitude that they’re going to stop drilling—they just want to open a line of communication with drillers so everyone is a little bit happier with the process.
The WV group’s constructive attitude is the kind of attitude more people on the other side of the issue (in OH) should adopt…
A small non-profit hospital in north-central PA will turn in its first operating loss in five years. The main reason for the loss this year, according to the hospital’s CEO? Marcellus Shale field workers who come to the hospital for treatment—workers without health insurance:
Two and one half years ago MDN editor first heard about “boomtowns” at a talk by Cornell Professor Tony Ingraffea. Ingraffea is a well-known anti-driller who traipses hither and yon to spread the anti-fracking message—from the halls of Congress to local town libraries to college classrooms with young, impressionable minds. That night, Dr. Ingraffea talked extensively about how local towns in the Western U.S. went through a cycle of building up (or “boom”) due to energy exploration, and then almost overnight went “bust” once the energy was mined and the companies left town. It was quite a horror picture he painted (see this MDN story recounting Ingraffea’s talk).
MDN has heard the same argument on and off over the years since. The latest example is a story published yesterday titled, “Will Shale Create Ohio Ghost Towns in 2040?” Every time MDN editor hears that argument it makes us angry. Here’s why…
MDN had to do a double-take. We just read a story in The Economist magazine about the aesthetics of Marcellus Shale drilling. Normally The Economist leans anti-drilling in its coverage of the shale development issue. But this article is complimentary! The article does a good job of describing the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process, and describes how after the drilling is done, there’s hardly anything on the surface that would indicate there was once drilling at that location.
Two Ohio State University graduate students, under the watchful eye of an advisor, have authored a policy brief titled “Making Shale Development Work for Ohio” which aims to provide politicians with guidance on how to avoid the so-called boom/bust cycle that shale energy “may” create in Ohio (a full copy of the brief is embedded below).
The grad students say Ohio needs to take steps now to ensure the state benefits from the shale energy boom in both the short- and long-term. Failure to do so, according to the brief, will “likely” have long-lasting negative effects. Among the brief’s recommendations are:
A private study on the socio-economic impacts shale gas drilling is projected to have in New York State shows hydraulic fracturing will create some 54,000 jobs and result in $2.5 billion in economic activity. The report, titled “Economic Assessment Report for the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on New York State’s Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program,” was commissioned by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and researched and written by Ecology and Environment Engineering, P.C. A full copy is embedded below.
A statistical certainty is that as the population of an area grows, there’s bound to be more drunk driving arrests and more crime in general—one of the “hazards” of an increasing population. And so it is in Bradford County, PA and other regions in the Marcellus Shale where the Marcellus drilling boom is happening. The increase in crime is not caused by drilling, according to law enforcement officials, but is a simple fact that where there’s more people there are bound to be more criminal incidents. It’s one of the negatives of drilling, like industrialization of rural areas (more trucking, more noise, more traffic) that must be recognized and if possible, mitigated or at least anticipated.