The Marcellus Shale Debate
"Drill Baby Drill"
The Marcellus Shale gas formation is rich in natural gas resources. It is one of the largest shale regions in the United States. Marcellus shale is estimated to be the second largest natural gas find in the world. It stretches across New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland.
The 400 year-old rock Marcellus shale formation is estimated to contain more than 410 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and could supply U.S. consumers' energy needs for hundreds of years.
A study by the Manhattan Institute found that each well drilled generates about $4 million in economic opportunities from shale development.
Energy companies working in the Marcellus Shale operate in strict compliance with the rules and regulations set out by federal, state and local agencies in every step of the planning, drilling and completion process.
In the beginning of September a major conference on Marcellus Shale was held in Philadelphia where former PA Governor Tom Ridge said many of the concerns about the environmental and public health impacts of drilling are "phony hysteria."
To find out the latest news, resources, and information read The Marcellus Shale Resource Page
"No Fracking Way"
During the Marcellus Shale conference in Philadelphia in the beginning of this month several hundred environmental activists and homeowners packed the sidewalks outside the natural gas industry conference and called for a moratorium on drilling, which they said was contaminating water, harming animals and creating a public health hazard.
Nearly 4,000 wells have been drilled in the state over the past few years.
Marcellus gas is extracted with a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemical additives are injected at high pressure to crack open gas-bearing rock. Oil and gas companies say the process is safe, but environmentalists have expressed concerns about groundwater contamination from chemicals used to get to the gas.
Some homeowners participating in the rally in Philadelphia said drilling has contaminated the aquifer near their homes, poisoning their water with barium and other chemicals, killing animals and presenting a public health hazard.
The Chesapeake Energy Corporation explains that their water comes from many sources including surface water bodies such as ponds, lakes, and streams, municipal authorities, groundwater wells, "produced water" (water that comes to the surface during oil and gas production), and re-cycled water from other hydraulic fracturing jobs.
Click here to read the list of what chemicals are used in hydro fracturing in the Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. The chemicals are used to fracture the rock with millions of gallons of water and the wastewater is either treated after the process is complete or is disposed of according to state regulation.
Do you think hydro fracturing, fracking, is a safe way to get natural gas from the Marcellus shale and if it is not what should we, our government and the industry do?