What They’re Saying About Responsible Shale Gas Development: MSC’s Guiding Principles In Action

In a recent series of policy discussions, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge underscored the commitment of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) to a set of principles guiding the historic natural gas development in the region.  Noting that “we have one chance to do it right,” Gov. Ridge spoke to stakeholders at Carnegie Mellon University and a north central Pennsylvania state forest resource management center late last week, underscoring the MSC’s commitment to “best practices” on environmental protection, transparency, and economic development inherent in the development of clean-burning, job-creating natural gas in Pennsylvania and beyond.  Following are some of the most recent media highlights of the MSC’s guiding principles.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity with the Marcellus Shale, the second largest natural gas field in the entire world.”

“The story of natural gas is one of a new American reliance on itself…”

“We have one chance to do it right, and I believe that chance is now…”

Tom Ridge, fmr. Pa. governor and MSC strategic advisor

MSC Guiding Principles in Action. Former Gov. Tom Ridge is helping a natural gas industry group unveil what it calls a set of guiding principles representing a commitment to Pennsylvania communities. Ridge is an adviser for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which advocates for companies drilling into the lucrative reserve of natural gas deep underground much of Pennsylvania. He attended a discussion Friday at a state forest resource management center in Waterville, where the coalition unveiled its “Commitment to the Community” principles. It was billed as an industry-wide roundup of best practices by gas drillers in the state. Ridge and others were also invited by Anadarko Petroleum to visit natural gas drilling sites and related facilities in the Sproul State Forest north of Lock Haven as an example of how the principles were being used. (Associated Press, 2/7/11)

Ridge urges ‘best practices’ for Marcellus Shale industry. Former Gov. Tom Ridge, now a strategic advisor for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, led the discussion at the Tiadaghton State Forest Resource Management Center. The round table gathering was used to unveil the coalition’s “Commitment to the Community” guiding principles, but served to provide an overview of Anadarko’s commitment to that common sense approach in dealing with area residents. Ridge and others were invited by Anadarko to visit a number of natural gas drilling sites and related facilities north of Lock Haven in the Sproul State Forest, to see exactly how those guiding principles are put into play. “We have an unprecedented opportunity with the Marcellus Shale the second largest natural gas field in the entire world,” Ridge said. “There’s a lot of bad information out there, there’s still a lot of work to be done and a lot of Pennsylvanians are still skeptical … but I’m pretty excited about Pennsylvania’s future. (Lock Haven Express, 2/5/11)

“The story of natural gas is one of a new American reliance on itself.” Ridge expressed his thoughts on how the core mechanics of America’s economy have changed since the steel-mill days, though its people’s obligation to those who follow in their footsteps has not; the Marcellus Shale would create job opportunities to fulfill such obligations. He claimed that, in the past two years, 75,000 new jobs have been created, resulting in nearly $1 billion in revenue for state and local governments. “The story of natural gas is one of a new American reliance on itself. We will rely on our own natural resources, we will rely on our own people, our own technology, and our own ability to meet and exceed challenges…. I’d rather drill here than import from a cartel,” Ridge said. (The Tartan [Carnegie Mellon University], 2/7/11)

Gov. Ridge: “You have to manage the risk. Capitalism and entrepreneurialism is risk management.” The shale drilling explosion began in Texas a decade ago. Tales of spoiled water, chemicals spills and cancer — along with documented air pollution, damaged roads and clear-cut forest land — have followed. But scientists have drawn few conclusions about the full effects of the industry and the root causes of these problems. “We have one chance to do it right, and I believe that chance is now,” Ridge said, pledging that cheap, domestic gas can help the country stay competitive and put money into poor rural towns where most of the drilling occurs. “Things will happen out there, folks. Remember you have to manage the risk.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2/4/11)

Fact-based education key to responsible development of the Marcellus Shale. A round table was held this morning, led by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. The main message of the session was education…getting the real facts about the gas industry. Not many people can say they’ve been inside the brain of a multi-million dollar drilling site. And according to former governor Tom Ridge, that’s the problem. Ridge says, “There are a lot of skeptical people out there. There’s a lot of misinformation and that’s why engagements like this are so important.” State Senator Gene Yaw agrees. He says false information is what is causing the uproar against the Marcellus industry. Yaw adds, “It’s almost like ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Many environmental groups in our area are against the drilling. But officials say it’s because they are not given the right information. Yaw notes, “People think we’re dumping waste water into streams and that is not true. Frack water has to be basically up to drinking water standards.”  Ridge adds, “The biggest concern I hear is about water. But at the end of the day, every bit of water is reviewed and inspected.” (WBRE-TV, 2/5/11)

Ridge defends shale drilling at CMU, “Science has to drive the conversation.” In his speech to a full house of 250 people in Porter Hall, he emphasized the industry’s commitment to the environment. He noted that when he speaks to residents about the Marcellus Shale, the No. 1 question he gets is about the impact on water quality. “As Pennsylvanians, we cherish what we have,” he said, noting the wealth of forestland but also the problems the state has had over the years with coal mines ruining streams. “But we’ve also seen what can happen when the stewardship of the environment comes second… “Science has to drive the conversation.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/4/11)

Partnership in responsible development of Marcellus Shale imperative. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge says partnerships among groups looking to protect the environment and the gas industry must occur for successful development of the Marcellus Shale. Ridge, who appeared at the Marcellus Shale Coalition gathering here Friday to discuss environmental best practices, said too much misinformation about drilling and protecting water sources has been spreading. “There’s a lot of skeptical people out there,” he said. Ridge, who serves as a strategic adviser to the Coalition, an organization of natural gas companies and affiliated groups, said preserving the state’s landscape is important. After all, hunting, fishing, the outdoors are part of the state’s culture. “With opportunity comes responsibility,” he said. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette, 2/7/11)