MSC Statement on Misguided Pittsburgh City Council Legislation to Ban Responsible Shale Gas Production

Citing job creation, much-needed tax revenue generation, Mayor Ravenstahl opposes shale gas production ban

Canonsburg, Pa. – Despite the fact that no Marcellus Shale operators have any near-term prospects of producing clean-burning natural gas within Pittsburgh’s city limits, earlier today Councilman Doug Shields formally introduced legislation seeking to prevent private city landowners from generating value from their own private mineral rights – potentially setting a dangerous precedent. According to his spokesperson, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl opposes this effort. Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), issued the following statement regarding the legislation:

“At a time when Pittsburghers are feeling uncertain about the current state and future direction of our economy, policymakers and our elected officials should recognize that all economic opportunities should be considered in full. The shale gas industry has brought to my hometown new jobs, an expansion of our tax base, and environmental stewardship and a safety culture that pervades our daily work. The effort announced today by Councilman Shields furthers none of these tremendous benefits to Pittsburgh residents and taxpayers – and in the process, attempts to deny residents in the city some of their most basic and fundamental rights.

“The extent to which the promise and potential of the Marcellus Shale is fully realized for our area will depend on a number of things – chief among them, our ability to demonstrate to the public that our operations are safe, and that the benefits they generate stand to improve the lives and livelihoods of every resident in the Commonwealth. It’s a task we take on with pride every day – and one to which the councilman’s legislation seeks to put an indefinite end, very much to the disservice of all who live in our city.

“Environmentally sound, tightly regulated shale gas development on privately-owned land in the region can and will create jobs and and revenues at a time when they’re most needed. Mayor Ravenstahl understands that; and our hope is that councilman Shields will see the merits.”

NOTE:

  • The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports today that “Mayor Luke Ravenstahl also opposes a ban, in part because drilling would create jobs, tax revenue for the state and spinoff revenue — such as earned-income tax — for the financially strapped city, his spokeswoman, Joanna Doven said.”
  • This from a recent KDKA segment: “I believe if we can do it in a city like Fort Worth we can certainly do it in a city like Pittsburgh,” Kathryn Klaber, a spokesperson for the Marcellus Coalition, said. In recent years, natural gas companies have extracted gas from wells in the city of Fort Worth, Texas, and Klaber says drilling could be done safely in Pittsburgh. “Pittsburghers for generations have been able to figure out how to do things and I think they can figure out this one as well,” she said.