As anti-fracking activists have been attempting to stop natural gas exploration at the municipal level through land use and zoning restrictions, supporters and those associated with the gas industry must stay alert and continue providing our elected officials with the real truth: natural gas benefits all of us in many ways.
At a recent public hearing in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, PA proponents of natural gas spoke up. They talked about the many benefits of drilling: more revenue to fix roads and provide needed public services, more jobs, saving family farms, protecting private property rights, and much more.
Expert testimony described how Federal EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulate the industry. Air and water quality was addressed. Well casing was explained to the audience. Experts reviewed the many permits required to drill a well in Pennsylvania. Truck traffic was discussed. How does truck traffic to and from a well pad compare to truck traffic at a new residential housing development?
Air quality is improving in Pennsylvania. A recent Pennsylvania DEP study found that over 500 million tons of emissions have actually been removed from the Commonwealth’s air because of the increased use of natural gas, and the Breakthrough Institute (an environmental think tank) recently found that natural gas utilization and the “associated surge in fracking have dramatically reduced emissions across Pennsylvania.”
Yes, fracking has been a known drilling practice for more than sixty five years. Policymakers in Harrisburg and Washington, DC have drafted laws and regulations to ensure that drilling operations are safe in Pennsylvania.
Be vigilant. Observe what is happening in your community as well as in Harrisburg when it comes to laws and zoning around the natural gas industry. The opposition will not stop their efforts anytime soon. We cannot either. Let’s speak up for natural gas now.
Mr. Johnson can be reached at . His website is www.adkl.org