MSC in Bucks County Courier Times: Prohibiting shale development defies common sense

For more than a decade, responsible shale development across Pennsylvania has generated unprecedented opportunities to provide sustainable and broad-based economic and environmental benefits to our region and the nation.

Unfortunately, a Feb. 4 editorial ignores these facts in misguidedly supporting an unconstitutional ban on safe, responsible natural gas development in the Delaware River Basin. While we cannot predict exactly what the resource potential of unconventional shale gas is within the Delaware River Basin, we have every reason to believe it is significant.

More importantly, our industry has been thoroughly engaged throughout the process to ensure private property rights are protected and to safeguard responsible natural gas development. These tremendous opportunities come with a collective responsibility to protect the environment in a manner firmly grounded in the law and sound science.

With an environmental compliance rate of nearly 98.3 percent, operating under some of the most stringent and rigorous environmental standards in the nation, Pennsylvania’s unconventional shale gas industry has a demonstrated track record of operating in a manner that protects our shared environment.

But don’t take it from me. According to continuous water monitoring data in the Susquehanna River Basin, a key drinking water resource just west of the Delaware River, natural gas development has had no discernable impact on water quality or quantity. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources came to similar conclusions, finding after a year-long monitoring that responsible shale development has had no effect on forest streams.

In fact, last year a Penn State peer-reviewed study identified, “an overall trend of improving water quality,” in Bradford County, one of Pennsylvania’s top natural gas producing counties.

Prohibiting the development of our critical energy resources, as the DRBC is considering, amounts to a politically motivated unconstitutional action that’s not grounded in science or fact, defies common sense and responsible policymaking.

David Spigelmyer is the president of Marcellus Shale Coalition, a Pittsburgh-based industry trade group centered on natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.

Click here to read this letter online.