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Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission challenged on environmental issues at first meeting

April 2, 2011

Last Friday, March 25, the Governor Tom Corbett appointed Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission held it’s first meeting.  Even though environmental members of the commission are outnumbered 3-1 by those from industry and business, right out of the gate serious concerns were raised and it was made clear that these concerns needed to be considered.

“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation stepped up with a list of specific environmental concerns that made many of the polite smiles around the table go thin.”

“CBF would like to draw attention to the fact that Pennsylvania’s recently crafted Watershed Implementation Plan for the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load does not currently account for the cumulative increases in the nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment loads generated by the natural gas industry, an omission that will need to be addressed,” said staff attorney LeeAnn Murray.

“CBF also notes that DEP currently reviews permits for gas extraction on a permit by permit basis without viewing the potential comprehensive cumulative impacts resulting from increases in sediment loads from erosion and post-construction runoff from roads, wellpads, pipelines and other infrastructure.”

“It is issues like these that we believe may have an impact on water quality,” she said, “and with recent scientific studies indicating that water quality is affected by gas extraction activities we hope to discuss methods of reducing such impacts.”

“She said the foundation is ‘looking forward to discussing topics involving: shallow gas migration, the ultimate fate and risk of contamination from frackwater, documentation and tracking of waste products, inadequate bonding laws, setbacks, fines, well pads siting issues, floodplain concerns, an exploration of alternative fracking methodologies that may have less environmental and health impacts and a funding source…whether a fee, assessment or, tax, which compensates PA for the extraction of a natural resource and allows citizens of the Commonwealth to utilize the money for local impacts and environmental improvements’.”

For more  from the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission meeting and the public comment period that followed read WHYY Newsworks’ coverage; “Severance tax out, but Pa. fees on gas industry possible“.

  1. April 3, 2011 12:47 pm

    Ms. Boose,

    Do you know where we can find a list of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s upcoming meetings? As I understand it these meetings are open to the public & we’d like to help get the word out to folks, so that they can attend.

    Thank you, Gloria Forouzan

    • Kristian Boose permalink
      April 3, 2011 4:43 pm

      Hi Gloria,

      That is a great question. After looking around a little bit, I wasn’t able to find much to answer it either. On this site, there is a place where it looks like meetings will be listed, but there is nothing there currently. I’d say check back with this site now and then and see if upcoming meetings show up here. If you find anything else out please let us know.


    • Kristian Boose permalink
      April 7, 2011 11:04 am


      I just saw on Gas Truth Of Central PA’s Facebook page the following note;

      “Join Gas Truth on April 27th at the Rachel Carson Building during the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s next meeting. We will gather outside to demand real action on the issue instead of this industry sponsored sham. More to come.”

      Might be worth following these folks…I’ll try to post more when I find out.


    • Kristian Boose permalink
      April 7, 2011 1:50 pm

      Well, it looks like now there are now a number of scheduled meetings listed on the DEP website.


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