What Happens When You Have the Best State Officials Money Can Buy

Marcellus Skeptics Form Own Shale Commission

By Anya Litvak

Pittsburgh Business Times

Aug 29, 2011 – Disappointed with the work of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, a group of organizations that have aimed to temper natural gas development in the state, has formed its own panel: The Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission.

And they’re taking it on the road, with the first public hearing scheduled for Wednesday evening at South Fayette Middle School, which lies smack in the center a lawsuit filed by Range Resources (NYSE: RRC). Range is claiming the township effectively zoned natural gas drilling out of its borders.

The other four commission meetings scheduled to take place in the next three weeks will be in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, with a concluding report to follow in early October.

The commission is made up of:

  • Thomas Au, Conservation Chair, Pennsylvania Chapter, Sierra Club
  • Lynda Farrell, Pipeline Safety Coalition
  • Greg Grabowitz, Environmental Chair, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited
  • Barb Jarmoska, Responsible Drilling Alliance
  • Anne Leisure, PA Providers Assocition
  • Rebecca McNichol, CLEAR Coalition
  • Roy Newsome Jr., Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
  • James Schmid, Environmental Engineer
  • John Stolz, Duquesne University
  • Marybeth Sweeney/Roberta Winters: League of Women Voters
  • Ritchie Tabachnick, Equipment and Controls Africa
  • John Anthony Trallo, Residents United for Pennsylvania/Sullivan County Chapter
  • Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper
  • Ray Werts: President of the Western Clinton County Sportsman

According to Christopher Lilienthal, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a sponsoring organization which has crunched numbers claiming that both the state and the industry are inflating the tax and jobs implications of Marcellus Development, described the commission’s mission like this:

“Broadly speaking, the Commission is going directly to Marcellus Shale communities to give Pennsylvanians an opportunity to weigh in on whatever is on their minds. The Commission will fully explore the potential impacts of gas drilling, environmental and social, and the implications for the state as a whole.”

The South Fayette hearing will be book-ended by two other Marcellus related events:

  • Tomorrow afternoon, the Washington County Energy Partners, a local group that promotes energy opportunities in the area, is holding a forum to tout Marcellus Shale growth and discuss where companies fit in to the supply chain.
  • The Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association holds its Eastern Oil & Gas Conference and Trade Show tomorrow and Wednesday at the Monroeville Convention Center.

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