Marcellus Shale Research and White Paper

Posted by Evan Hansen on Sunday, November 13 2011


I would like to propose a concept for an Innovation Grant related to Marcellus Shale natural gas development. The Marcellus Shale is an extraordinary resource that promises to deliver significant amounts of natural gas over the coming decades. Drilling has been ongoing in West Virginia and Pennsylvania for a few years now, and it is advancing rapidly.

The development of the Marcellus Shale is outpacing efforts to regulate it to protect drinking water, streams, air, and soil from pollution. I have personally been involved in several cases in which we have documented water and soil pollution from these operations. There is no public notice or comment required before drilling permits are issued. In many cases, drilling pads are being located on people’s land without their permission, because they do not own the mineral rights, or 200 feet from their homes on a neighbor's property.

I would like to participate in a collaborative process to learn from the experiences of others with unconventional gas plays out west (Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, etc.). We need to learn about the regulatory structures put in place in these states and by municipalities—what has worked, what has failed, and why. My first idea would be to collaborate on a white paper, which we could then use to help advance the policy debate here. Perhaps we could bring in experts from other states that have already solved some of these issues. I also have an interest in researching the impacts of Marcellus on local farms and the burgeoning local foods movement in southwestern Pennsylvania and north-central West Virginia.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

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