On June 18, after coordinating efforts with XTO Energy’s Lorie Jackson, Chicora Borough Council received an on-site tour of a drilling pad in action. XTO Energy employees were on hand to help us understand the several steps required to orchestrate the planning, implementation and final use of an unconventional well.
The words that I can use to describe what we saw are; professional, clean, safe and very well-maintained. I have seen residential basements and garages with more potential hazards than anywhere on the drilling pad we toured.
I am very concerned with the red herring argument that we should not drill until it is completely safe. I want to ask those individuals standing on that platform; Are you also postponing driving a vehicle or walking up and down steps until they are completely safe? If not, then why are you focusing on the far safer endeavors of modern well drillers? Vehicle and household accidents cause far more harm nationwide than any of these unconventional gas wells, thanks to careful training and procedures.
In addition, the product of these wells is one of the cleanest fuels known to man.
To those that believe and would use the argument that companies like XTO Energy simply extract the gas and ship the profits elsewhere, a lesson in economics is needed. I am personally an employee of a large manufacturing facility in Butler County. One of our primary growth sectors is manufacturing hardware used in gas extraction. Even if many drill site jobs belong to out-of-state residents (for their specific valuable skill set), and gas may be sold outside our region, the activity is significantly felt locally by the support roles, hotels and accommodations needed for this activity. Additionally, the gas reserve itself is a commodity owned and sold by the local landowners through lucrative leases.
It is my observation that our local area is greatly benefited by XTO Energy and others engaged in gas recovery. We should thank these people and welcome them for playing their role in boosting our economy.