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May 7, 2013 Letters to the Editor

In the hope of balancing the slick TV ads, local “advisory councils” and shale-gas “forums,” all proclaiming how safe and wonderful everything is in the world of shale-gas drilling, I am making available to the public, online, the report I compiled for the Butler Township Marcellus Shale Advisory Board.

This report, “Municipalities That Have Sought to Ban or Significantly Restrict Natural Gas Drilling: Who, How and Why,” in no way reflects the opinions of the township board of commissioners or the final recommendations of the township advisory board.

However, it does contain numerous factual incident reports, medical observations, and academic and governmental studies, all of which highlight the myriad hazards and issues associated with unconventional drilling for shale gas.

In other words, everything the gas industry doesn’t want people reading about, knowing about, talking about or thinking about.

Not that I have any illusions about bursting the rosy money-in-the-bank bubble that most Butler Countians live in regarding this subject. I have come to accept that most local residents will not believe anything negative about the gas industry without direct, firsthand experience of the negative impacts that have been felt in other drilling areas.

And, if that happens, chances are good that the industry practice of settling lawsuits by way of non-disclosure agreements will keep other county residents from learning about those impacts.

I read with interest the March 21 Butler Eagle article “Shale safety deal done” about the “sustainable shale” coalition between a few gas-drilling companies and a few environmental groups that has formed in Pittsburgh. It’s nice to see a few drilling companies admitting that there might be some problems that need to be solved.

Their list of “performance standards,” however, is woefully inadequate.

This report will provide readers with the full scope of the mess that the gas industry needs to clean up, if indeed it ever can be cleaned up.

The report is available for viewing at http://www.scribd.com/doc/139366186/J-P-McMurry-Frack-Report.