MSC Statement on Philadelphia City Council Marcellus Shale Joint Committee Report

Canonsburg, Pa. – Earlier today, the Philadelphia City Council endorsed an outright ban on responsible shale gas development along the Delaware River Basin, based on a joint council committee ‘report’. As part of today’s misguided vote, the council also directed the Philadelphia Gas Works to abstain from purchasing affordable, clean-burning natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, despite the fact that the municipal utility provider indirectly already receives Marcellus natural gas.

The council’s joint committee report — based on the testimony of 19 witnesses; one from the natural gas industry, and ten who have publically stated their opposition to job-creating Marcellus development — was written by an activist who sits on the board of a state-wide anti-Marcellus advocacy group and several council interns.

Subsequent to the vote, Kathryn Klaber — president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) — issued this statement:

“Our organization was grateful for the opportunity to testify before council, and remains committed to actively engaging communities across the commonwealth to realize the positive economic and environmental benefits associated with Marcellus development. Unfortunately, this report does not seek to advance that constructive dialogue, but rather seeks to crowd it out by advancing a political narrative that is completely unmoored from the facts.

“Responsible Marcellus development will continue to benefit each and every Pennsylvanian through more affordable, and stable energy prices. Thanks to American ingenuity and technological advancements, more natural gas is coming to market each day, translating directly to consumer savings and energy security for our nation. Just two years ago, natural gas prices hit $14 a unit. Today, because of America’s shale gas revolution, prices are holding stable near $4 a unit. While it’s true the Philadelphia Gas Works doesn’t directly purchase Marcellus gas, the fact remains that additional Marcellus gas is going into the interstate pipeline system, directly benefitting Philadelphians.

“The development of this clean-burning resource is tightly regulated and subject to a host of stringent environmental laws and regulations. Our industry has a long-standing working relationship with state regulators to ensure that Marcellus development is done safely, environmentally responsibly and in a way that protects groundwater. From enhanced well casing standards to recycling water to increased permitting fees allowing DEP to hire additional inspectors without adding a financial burden to state taxpayers, the natural gas industry remains supportive of effective, smart regulations and is committed to working with regulators as this responsible development expands.”

·         The New York Times recently reported that the Obama Administration fully supports the issuance of draft regulations for Marcellus development along the Delaware River Basin, noting: “The administration’s position is to continue fully supporting the need for a cumulative impact study. … Simultaneously, all these agencies support the DRBC’s decision to develop and release draft natural gas regulations.”

·         Further, President Obama has embraced the need to expand domestic natural gas production. The New York Times, on Nov. 4, reports: “’We’ve got, I think, broad agreement that we’ve got terrific natural gas resources in this country,’ Obama said when he was pressed for issues on which he could compromise with Republican leaders. ‘Are we doing everything we can to develop those [domestic natural gas resources]?’